Declan Rice, Arsenal's 'transformer': The story of how the Gunners pipped Man City to £105m signing

Declan Rice has cooked up some amazing performances in the midfield for Arsenal since his move from West Ham last year. The feeling of watching him play week in week out and combing grace with robustness can only be topped by an out of the world curry rice culinary experience, get it, rice-cook-saucy baller. Enough of these below the belt puns, let us now see how he got here in the first place.

Arsenal announce Declan Rice signing - Sportco
Declan Rice (Credit - Arsenal Official)

Mikel Arteta has earned high plaudits for his talent ID in identifying a talent like rice who possessed the technical ability to start out attacks and play highly specialized brand of possession based football. He also has the physical presence and street smarts to master the dark arts and do the dirty work. A couple of seasons ago he was one of the youngest Premier League Squads at that time filled to the brim with potential superstars waiting to burst onto the scene. Trusting that process is finally starting to bear the result for the North London side and Declan Rice from West Ham is one such success story for them. He is only taken his game to the next level from where he left off at The London Stadium.

Declan Rice
Declan Rice (Credit - Forbes)

Declan Rice, even though has costed the club £105m million will consider themselves lucky to have bagged such a bargain. The previous sentence seems oxymoronic but whosoever has followed the rise of this Rolls Royce of a midfielder would agree that if he was to bought any later in his career, it would have been far more expensive and out of reach for the North London side to acquire his services.

This was not a shot in the dark where they just threw money at their problem and hoped that it would work out. However Arteta, Edu their sporting director along with the rest of their backroom staff had prepared a dossier of financial plans, data reports, character reference checks. With whom they would assimilate him with the rest of the squad and the plan was set into motion about a full year before the transfer actually took place.

Declan Rice
Declan Rice (Credit -

Even though Pep Guardiola wanted him at the blue side of Manchester which meant that competition for his signature was a tough ask considering Arsenal. It was clearly a work in progress as compared to the winning machine Pep had built but Arteta wanted him more than Pep and in the end he ended up getting his target.

Declan Rice and Lampard
Declan Rice (Left) Lampard (Right) (Credits -

Recently Frank Lampard presented the 25-year-old Ireland born English International with a customized pair of Copa boots to commemorate his 50th England cap this week. When he pulled up the captains armband for the national team for the first time, his response to reporters at said moment only shed more light on the off the field impact. He has and how it positively rubs onto the rest of the squad creating a group of winners who posses that winner mentality and giving a humble down to earth answer to their questions Rice responded: "I thought special boots were only reserved for players who win the Ballon d'Or and stuff."

Declan Rice
Declan Rice (Credit - West Ham United)

Arteta genuinely is of the belief that Rice can be in the fray for top accolades and all the other major individual accolades. He is already among the favourites for Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year. Even Rice himself knows how important his role is in  the grander scheme of things as he has very different roles when he is on the ball as compared to when he his without it. Various reports quote him as saying that when he is without the ball, he is one of their attacking options with his late runs into the box as instructed to him by Arteta which is a far cry from the traditionally rigid and restricted role of a number 6. 

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