Following on from Arsenal’s long chase of West Ham United and England midfielder Declan Rice this summer, a few days ago he finally unveiled is a shirt with the Gunners badge on it, and sat alongside manager Mikel Arteta.
The London club will ultimately pay the Hammers a whopping £105 million for the 24 year old’s services and he has now put pen to paper on a five year deal, with the club holding a further 12 month option on top of that.
Having penned a heartfelt letter to fans of his former club where he talked about how ‘tough’ a decision it had been, especially in light of their Europa Conference League success a couple of months ago, speaking to his new fans as he was unveiled, he explained.
“I’ve been looking at Arsenal over the last couple of seasons and the trajectory they’ve been on. Not last season but the season before, they only finished fifth, but you could see the style of play Mikel was implementing. Last season was an outstanding season, blowing pretty much every team out of the water with the exception of Manchester City.”
Arteta was understandably pleased to finally get his top target of the summer.
“He is a player with tremendous ability, who has been performing at a high level in the Premier League and for England for a number of seasons now. Declan is bringing undoubted quality to the club and he is an exceptional talent who has the potential to be very successful here. Declan has great experience in the Premier League at only 24 years old. He has captained a very good West Ham team and as we all saw, he recently lifted a European trophy. The responsibility and role he has taken on has been very impressive and we are really excited that he is joining us.”
Rice becomes Arsenal’s third capture of the summer, following on from Chelsea versatile attacker Kai Havertz who came in for £65 million, and Ajax defender Jurrien Timber who has recently completed a £34 million deal.
Their gaffer clearly has a very defined role in mind for Rice, as he went on to explain.
“I see him like a lighthouse. He is willing to put the light in others, improve others and make the team better. We discussed a while ago how he could evolve the team and compliment the players and take that winning hunger into a team with players who really want to push themselves to a different level. He has an aura. The experience he has in this league is going to bring the team to a different dimension. He has the physical qualities we were missing for a while. The way he talks and presents himself. The ambition he has and his passion for the game is exactly what we needed.”
Given the investment Arsenal have made in his future, fans will be hoping he manages to hit the ground running and quickly adjusts to his colleagues as the club clearly aim to try and build on their second placed finish last term.
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