Declan Rice destined for the Emirates as City take a back seat

Published on 28 June 2023 at 17:00

Alistair Gordon

It seems all but guaranteed that Arsenal will make their biggest money signing ever in the form of Declan Rice, but would the young Englishman have been better suited elsewhere?


(TalkSport, 2023)


In what has been an excruciating transfer saga for Arsenal fans, it finally looks as if they are going to get their man. After two rejected bids for Rice at £80m and £90m (£75m plus add ons), it wasn't looking good for the Gunners. To make matters worse, Arsenal fans must've thought "here we go again" as Manchester City then tried to swoop in at the end (much like they did in the title race) to buy Rice, however their £90m (£80m plus add ons) was rejected too. Following this, Arsenal have now bid £105m for him which is believed to be close enough to West Ham's valuation of the player. Should Rice move from East to North London, he will smash Arsenal's transfer record of £72m for Nicolas Pepe in 2019 and would become the second most expensive English player of all time.


With Granit Xhaka expected to join Bayer Leverkusen and Thomas Partey reportedly moving away from the Emirates, it could be a new look midfield for Arsenal next season. While both these players have been impressive over the past year, they also have both been known to be reckless in some ways; Partey with loose passes in possession and Xhaka with persistent fouling and bad tackles. Over his time at West Ham, Declan Rice has been renowned for being a calm, reliable player in and out of possession, which is an area Arsenal fans may see a notable improvement. When it comes to successful tackles per match, Rice (88.8%) had a significantly better record than both Partey (74.2%) and Xhaka (66.6%) last season. He has also been blessed with great ball carrying ability from defence to attack, a skill that would be very useful particularly at Arsenal, where he can create chances for Saka, Jesus, Martinelli etc. It will also be interesting to see how he gels with Martin Odegaard; both young leaders who are wise beyond their years, the two could be a match made in heaven to play together.


The late bid from Manchester City definitely threw the cat amongst the pigeons from an Arsenal point of view and prompted a lot of theories as to why The Cityzens got involved. When chatting to Laura Woods and Ally Mccoist on TalkSport, former Lioness, Eni Aluko believed Arsenal and City were somehow in cahoots and that City only made the bid to help Arsenal get the deal done quicker. Whilst this is a slightly far-fetched view, it does make one think what a City team with Declan Rice in it would look like. After Ilkay Gundogan's recent move to Barcelona, Rice may have been looked at as a potential replacement. However, with the likes of Rodri, Stones and Phillips playing in similar roles and Guardiola being renowned for rotating his teams, Rice would surely be a more important player to Arsenal than he would be to City.



The signing of Rice would be hugely important for Arsenal due to the fact they never seem to acquire their big money transfer targets. Last season they lost out on the likes of Mykhailo Mudryk and Joao Felix. If the Gunners secured Rice, it would show the supporters that Arteta still has ambitions to win the title and won't allow City to have any psychological advantages going into next season. Furthermore, the way it's looking, Rice himself would prefer to stay in London so the move looks mutually beneficial for both parties.


From Arsenal fan's in despair at potentially losing out to City again, to causing footballing conspiracy theories; the race to sign Declan Rice has certainly been an entertaining one. But only time will tell if the sought after midfielder has chosen the right path.


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