Arsenal has won the race to sign Declan Rice for £105 million from West Ham, amid interest from Manchester City and Bayern Munich. City had put in a bid worth up to £90 million, it was swiftly rejected.
It took Arsenal three attempts to get their primary target, putting in three total bids before reaching an agreement for the England international. Rice has now topped the club’s record fee of £72 million for Nicolas Pépé in 2019. He is also now the second most expensive English player alongside the likes of Jude Bellingham and Jack Grealish.
Rice took West Ham to new heights, winning the Europa Conference League last season, their first trophy since 1980. For both West Ham and England, he is usually deployed as the deepest player in a midfield of three or in a double pivot. He is expected to assist the defenders when out of possession, providing any help they need. In possession, he possesses the ability to build up play with his passing and ball-carrying skills.
His potential role at Arsenal
Comparing Rice to Thomas Partey in the Premier League last season, Rice completed 315 progressive carries versus Partey’s 250. He completed 63 interceptions compared 58 from Partey, Martin Ødegaard, Jorginho, and Granit Xhaka, combined.
If Arsenal were to lineup like this next season, could they win the Premier League title? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/juzYpdSrtD
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) June 28, 2023
Gunners coach Mikel Arteta is most likely going to play Rice as a number six in Arsenal’s squad throughout next season. The Englishman fits the role perfectly and is familiar with the responsibilities that comes with it. As shown in the West Ham squad, Rice has the ability to play excellent passes to the wingers from deep, That is something you can expect to see with Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, a scary thought.
It may take some adjusting to get used to Arsenal’s possession-based football and having more defensive responsibility, alongside stepping into the Champions League for the first time in his career. Arsenal has secured themselves a top player who already has a heap of experience considering he is just 24 years old, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him gain captaincy in the future.
Arsenal is not going anywhere
Arsenal has been very active throughout this transfer window, wrapping up Rice, alongside Kai Havertz and Jurriën Timber. That is something many fans are surprised with due previous windows in the recent past.
Last season was a turning point for the club, and it is no surprise to see reinforcements coming in to add the depth needed to challenge the likes of Manchester City next season. It is clear Arsenal is not looking to drop off after one good season: they are here to stay, continually improve, and continue on their journey to glory.
Seeing that players are disregarding other clubs for Arsenal shows the process that is going on at the club. Moreover, the players believe in what Arteta is building. The Spanish coach pushed the Rice deal and it was reported that he personally held a meeting at his house to present his ideas on his role at the club.