Arsenal have been considering a swoop for West Ham United captain Declan Rice this summer and could further enhance their thriving midfield by acquiring one of the Premier League‘s most coveted players.
What’s the latest on Declan Rice to Arsenal?
The 24-year-old emerged as Arsenal’s top target last month, with the Hammers previously accepting defeat in their wishes to tie down their prized asset to a new long-term deal.
According to football.london, the Gunners could look to abandon their interest in Borussia Dortmund’s touted prodigy Jude Bellingham after concerns over the finances involved in securing his signature, with Rice – who is valued at £70m by the Irons – considered the dream alternative.
With the England midfielder out of contract in east London at the end of next season, Arsenal’s technical director Edu could even look to lower that price and strike a relative bargain for the phenomenon.
Could Rice really be Arsenal’s answer to Casemiro?
Mikel Arteta‘s reign at Arsenal has not been without its criticisms and concerns over his ability to lead the club back into eminence among Europe’s elite, but with the Gunners topping the Premier League table and performing at a level unseen in many years at the Emirates Stadium, his standing is solidified.
Should he be granted his wish in luring Rice to north London, the club’s chances of not only maintaining their current course but scaling even greater heights would likely increase further.
As per Sofascore, the 24-year-old has recorded an average league rating of 7.25 this term, the highest of any player in David Moyes’ squad by a long stretch.
Dubbed a “force of nature” by journalist Rob Blanchette, Rice’s prospective arrival at the Emirates could be the perfect answer to Manchester United’s £70m summer acquisition of Casemiro (the same amount at which the Englishman is valued by West Ham), who has been said to operate on a “different level” according to journalist Liam Canning.
Given Rice’s consistently superlative showings, it would unquestionably be a signing which could bolster Arteta’s midfield significantly, providing a new dimension to protect the defence and recycle possession at a level which would be the envy of other teams, with the 39-cap England star lauded as “world class” by writer Toby Cudworth for his herculean efforts at the London Stadium.
By looking at the transformative impact that Casemiro has made on Erik ten Hag’s United team, such progress is something that Edu will hope could be replicated to greater effect if Rice moves to the Emirates.
Indeed, the Red Devils now have one eye on the league title as opposed to fighting for a top-four finish, and the 31-year-old’s integral role has been easily discernible, completing 78.7% of his passes in the Premier League and also averaging 3.2 tackles and 0.9 key passes per game, as per WhoScored.
Comparatively, the West Ham machine has made 2.1 tackles and 1.3 key passes per top-flight outing, also completing a remarkable 89.5% of his passes, despite his team being embroiled in a relegation dogfight. One can only where the Irons would be without his attributes to call upon.
While Thomas Partey currently anchors the Arsenal midfield with assurance, the £60k-per-week Rice is an object of desire for virtually all of the Premier League’s leading lights. With the north London giants enjoying a discernible rise after years of languishing in mediocrity, such a move might just materialise for the 24-year-old.
While Casemiro has been exemplary for the Red Devils, the Arsenal faithful could bask in the potential signing of a midfielder who could potentially be every bit as transformative for their team as the Brazilian has been at Old Trafford.
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