Declan Rice, 24, can play as either a No. 6 or No. 8 in midfield, and Arsenal have finalised a £105 million agreement to bring him over from West Ham. The two clubs have agreed on terms on the structure of payments and how the fee would be paid in instalments.
If Arsenal needed any more persuasion to make a Declan Rice acquisition, they received it shortly after the half-hour mark of their April 2-2 draw with West Ham at the London Stadium.
The team of Mikel Arteta appeared to be cruising to a victory that would have put them six points ahead of Manchester City with a lead of two goals. But everything changed when a player they now wish to sign as a record did some quick thinking.
As Kieran Tierney was ready to transfer the ball to Thomas Partey in the Arsenal half, Rice began to move in on the Ghanaian midfielder. Reaching him just in time to seize the ball, Rice carried it into the box and found Lucas Paqueta.
Said Benrahma converted the ensuing penalty, which changed the game’s momentum away from Arsenal. possibly even that of the championship race. And Rice was the catalyst.
He had hurried to put pressure on Partey earlier in the game. Rice is only attempting to demonstrate to him that he will pursue him, claimed Sky Sports analyst Jamie Carragher during co-commentary. He might soon be vying for a spot on the Arsenal squad as well.
Many of the traits that make Rice so desirable to Arsenal were on display during that section of play: the foresight to recognize the opportunity; the speed and power to get there and emerge with the ball; the composure to set up his teammate and force the penalty.
It also demonstrated how far the 24-year-old’s player development has progressed. Rice began his career at West Ham as a centre back before switching to a holding midfielder. He is much more now, and his value has surpassed £100 million thanks to his ability on both ends of the field.
Partey’s capacity for seizing control is unmatched, as he discovered.
Rice recovered more balls than any other Premier League player last season, and his 334 total put him far ahead of Rodri of Manchester City in second place. With 63, seven more than the next closest competitor, he also made the most interceptions.
At West Ham, Rice and Tomas Soucek have operated as a double pivot, but with his physical strength and the calibre of his passing over both short and long distances, Rice could be easily utilised as the No. 6 in Arteta’s system.
David Moyes believes that is where he will spend the majority of his career; he remarked in April that “as his career progresses, he may become a proper No 6,” and it’s possible that’s where he’ll end up at Arsenal.