Declan Rice is being heavily linked with a move to Arsenal this summer and he might just be the ideal player for Mikel Arteta to build his midfield around.
It goes without saying that Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka have been superb for the vast majority of the season. The pair work well together in tandem, but Arsenal cannot stand still with their lofty ambitions.
Rice is the name on the radar right now and it’s easy to see why a manager like Arteta would love him. To make it under Arteta you must have character, drive and a willingness to learn. All the sorts of attributes that Rice has in abundance.
From a technical aspect, his ball-carrying ability is something that would be massively utilised at Arsenal. From dictating the play from deeper areas to making marauding runs going forward, the 24-year-old can do it all.
As he spent plenty of his early days playing as a defender, Rice was typecast by some as a defensive-minded player. While he is excellent at this side of the game, he is capable of so much more.
When the pressure seems to reach boiling point, Rice manages to keep a cool head. Always asking for the ball and driving his team up the pitch, these are the sort of skills that Arteta is desperate to add to his squad.
At times during the run-in, the Gunners have lacked a bit of composure in the middle. When it comes to releasing that sort of pressure, look no further than Rice.
Declan Rice – Ball carrying
Gets us out of pressure and creates chaos. Very hard to defend. Imagine the passing options he would have at Arsenal.
We need this!pic.twitter.com/NKNkus6suW
— 🇳🇴 kimmoFC (@kimmoFC) May 16, 2023
As Rice has gone from strength to strength in a West Ham shirt, even David Moyes has recently admitted that they might not be able to keep him past this season.
“We honestly hope he stays,” Moyes told Sky Sports. “We’d love for him to be a West Ham player but we are aware that might not be the case at the end of the season.
“So that’s one of the scenarios around planning. There are plans that we have Dec here but we’re also fully aware there is a good chance we won’t have him.”
Of course, Arteta wants the best footballers at his disposal, but he also wants the right personalities. The days of toxic dressing room drama have been long gone under the Spanish manager’s reign.
In the case of Rice, he looks like the perfect personality to thrive at a place like Arsenal. The England international is one of the most down-to-earth personalities in the Premier League right now.
— Micky ⚒ (@Micky62053615) May 7, 2023
Arteta himself has continually spoken about signing the right personalities for the Arsenal dressing room. We can’t help but feel someone like Rice ticks a lot of those boxes.
“We need players that make the team better,” Arteta told reporters in December last year. “I think personalities that have the mentality that we want to win.
“And we have to focus on that. We have to be very strict with what we have done and the policy we have had to make the team successful.”
The West Ham midfielder would certainly cost a pretty penny, but him and Arsenal might just be a match made in heaven.