Arsenal have finally announced the British transfer record signing of Declan Rice.
The former West Ham captain was Arsenal’s number one transfer target since January and arrives in north London after guiding West Ham to their first European trophy since 1965.
The transfer breaks down as an initial £100m fee, plus £5m in performance-related add-ons. Arsenal had two club-record bids rejected by the Irons, which was a £90m bid comprising a £75m fee and £15m in add-ons and an opening offer thought to be worth £80m, plus add-ons. The deal smashes Arsenal’s transfer record, which was the £72m deal they paid Lille for Nicolas Pepe in 2019.
Hammers chairman David Sullivan said on TalkSport there was a gentleman’s agreement which meant Rice could leave despite having a year remaining on his contract, with the option to extend it by a further 12 months. Treble winners Manchester City entered the race to rival Arsenal for Rice’s signature, but after seeing a £90m bid swiftly rejected by the Hammers, Pep Guardiola’s side pulled out of the running.
Rice comes to Arsenal as a combative and imposing player in the center of midfield, who can play at the base of midfield or more forward as an 8. The England international can also play at center-back if needed and that is where he broke onto the scene at West Ham in the 17/18 season.
In Rice, the Gunners are getting a player who wears his heart on his sleeve and is a born leader. Former Hammers veteran Mark Noble said previously that if anyone was tailor-made to replace him as the club’s captain it was Rice. At just 24, he may rep the Captain’s armband in red and white.
Rice is looking to join up with his Arsenal teammates on their USA tour with him in line to potentially make his Arsenal debut against Manchester United or Barcelona and is seen by many fans as a huge coup and signal of intent by Arsenal as they have heavily invested in Rice’s quality and leadership to take them to the next level.
The signing comes after long-term midfielder Granit Xhaka exited the club to go Bayer Leverkusen and there are rumors of Thomas Partey’s potential exit amidst interest from Saudi clubs and Juventus.
It is unknown whether Rice will take over the position of Partey or Xhaka as he can play both positions, but Arsenal fans can’t help but be delighted with the move.
We welcome, Declan Rice to the Arsenal!