Saturday, April 15, 2023

Why Declan Rice should shun other interest for Arsenal

Declan Rice has long been mooted as Arsenal’s top summer target with Miguel Delaney reporting that West Ham would want at least £100m for their skipper.

Since The Athletic announced Arsenal’s interest in January, there have been continued reports of Arsenal advancing into a strong position, with Rice publicly praising Mikel Arteta. Delaney has since said that he sees Arsenal as having ‘one of the best approaches in European football right now’.

Despite this, recent reports suggest Manchester United and Liverpool are also keen, and his boyhood club Chelsea have held a long-term interest in bringing him back to Stamford Bridge.

However, despite their interest, Rice should shun all three. There is no better option for him than Arsenal this summer.

Why Declan Rice should shun other interest for Arsenal

At present, Arsenal are the closest to securing Champions League football for next season which appears to be his main desire, with Chelsea currently sitting closer to the relegation zone than they are to fourth place.

Chelsea also have the issue of a bloated squad, an interim manager in charge, no set style of playing and have failed to score in their last four games, despite their £600m spend this season. They are currently directionless, meaning the only way Rice would be joining them is due to his history and his family’s connection with the club.

Liverpool also sit some way off the top four, and after picking up just two points from their last four games, Champions League football next season currently looks unlikely.

What Liverpool can offer is structure, quality and a world-class manager. While their form has been patchy, they have had some big injuries, and they’re in a transition period, so Rice would be guaranteed his place, and would suit Klopp’s style of football.

However, he would also suit Arsenal very well, and he would be coming into a squad that has gone through the transition, but whose star players are all under 26 (barring Grant Xhaka and Thomas Partey), meaning the plan for the next few years is clear.

Knowing Arteta’s vision could be key. The Arsenal manager has been unapologetically ambitious. He wants to win everything, and he has spoken about the importance of maximising every window to ensure the team keeps evolving. He won’t settle for windows with no arrivals like Klopp has been forced to do at Liverpool.

Arteta is also extremely selective on character, and Rice has the personality, work rate and technical qualities to fit into an Arsenal team that wants to grow further.

This season hasn’t always shown him at his best, with West Ham’s position forcing him into a more defensive role, as the team has a real problem with ball retention, despite Rice’s impressive personal stats.

At Arsenal, he would be going to a team who complete the fourth most passes in the league and have an average of 61% possession per game. That style of football will allow Rice to develop the technical side of his game, add more goals and focus less on crunching tackles and recovery runs.

With Arsenal’s short distances, quick build-up, and high line, Rice will be able to play on the front foot and develop into a dominant midfielder, potentially at left eight, where he can really utilise his powerful ball-carrying ability and position himself as a leader for one of Europe’s top teams.

Is West Ham the perfect away game for Arsenal?

 

The deal makes sense for both parties. It would allow Rice to continue to develop, and it would significantly improve Arsenal’s squad by adding another leader to a group full of strong personalities.

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