Havertz and Nketiah and Rice— what are they smoking over there at the Emirates?


After interminable months of flirtations, insinuations, and actual negotiations, Arsenal seem no closer to signing Declan Rice than we were back in January. Yes, “personal terms” have been agreed, but that doesn’t mean much when the player is under contract to a club whose prerogative is to extract the highest possible fee. Here’s what we’ve got. The Man City corporation, in conjunction with Sheikh Mansour, under the oblivion of the FA, are forcing West Ham to sell them Declan.Rice in a fiendish plot to eliminate the threat of domestic competition. We’re through the looking glass, here, people…

Soz. Can’t resist the urge to reference the Simpons, and this one went a little off track. What I meant to say is that, with Man City apparently sniffing around, it starts to feel as if the fix is in. Conspiracy. What are we to do in the face of such senseless spending? Well, for one, we do have to sharpen up with our third bid. We’ve whittled away at West Ham to the point that their initial insistence on a £120m fee has come down to a somewhat more-sensible £100m demand. However, our second bid fell short. Rather than risk losing him to Man City, where he’d just become another trinket, it’s time to get serious.

With Eddie Nketiah apparently unsettled by the signing of Kai Havertz—even if Havertz and Nketiah don’t fill the same roles—we may a chance to kill two birds with one stone. West Ham need a striker. Antonio and Ings ain’t getting any younger, and Paqueta and Scamacca have failed to impress. Offering Nketiah to West Ham wouldn’t just sweeten the pot for them; it would resolve a problem for us. While Nketiah did pop up with some invaluable goals when Jesus was injured, he just isn’t good enough for our ambitions, and he won’t get any better watching from the bench or coming in for mop-up minutes.

What’s he worth? £20m? Maybe £25m? We could offer him up along with our improved bid of around £90m plus add-ons and make the case that this amounts to a bid of £115m plus add-ons. West Ham get a striker who knows the Prem and is home-grown; we get our man. For those nervous about us low-balling, maybe we go the full Monty, bid £120m, and offer Nketiah? David Sullivan would be a fool to pass on that offer…unless Man City do what Man City have the power to do by making Rice the most expensive English footballer ever.

In the face of that financial firepower, some would say that we’ve dithered. However, it must be said that Man City hadn’t registered any apparent interest in Rice until just a few days ago, and they still haven’t submitted a bid. All we have, then is the whisper of a rumour and our own persistent insecurities. We see that Rice has agreed personal terms with Arsenal and worry that this means less than nothing; we see that Caicedo has agreed personal terms with Chelsea and decide that the ink has dried on the contract. Paranoid schizophrenics probably have a firmer grasp of reality.

In an ideal world, Nketiah would stay here and follow the path blazed by Saka…but he gives off more of an Iwobi vibe, sad to say. Moving him on to a club like West Ham might be best for his career, and it could just be the difference-maker in our pursuit of Rice.

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14 thoughts on “Havertz and Nketiah and Rice— what are they smoking over there at the Emirates?


    Oh dear somebody else obsessed with City. Look at you own spending especially net over last 5 years and already spend spend spend.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Yes, I’ll admit that Arsenal’s net spend over the last five years (and expecially the last two) has been high. I think we’re third highest in the Prem over that span. This comes after a decade of relative frugality enforced by our stadium debt and Wenger’s own approach. You have to spend to succeed, simple as that.

      It’s hardly an “obsession” with Man City to mention their interest in Declan RIce. Your insistence on characterising it as such suggests a certain tetchiness on your part, as if you’re touchy or insecure about the spending that has driven that success.

      Nonetheless, thanks for stopping. by.

  2. Palladio43

    Edu and the rest tried to bid the way I and others would in every mid-east or far-east market place. You come in much lower than asking price, get a reduced ask, raise your bid, and, hopefully, then meet a new ask, and shake hands. Both sides grumble but both got a good deal. Unfortunately, Moyes and WH did not play that game and all that the very low Arsenal bid did was to reveal to City that they could readily outbid Arsenal at a decent price without overspending
    I agree that Arsenal should not overpay for Rice, but this market is not operating by the standards of a free or a perfect market. Teams like City and Chelsea, possibly Newcastle and soon United, can distort the marketplace by overpaying without fear of retribution or a depleted coffer. Chelsea proved that in January although they may have been burned, but can, probably, afford an occasional loss especially if there is hope hidden Saudi wealth under the covers. City is more open and just allows others to scout and open the doors for them as we have done by identifying Rice, scaring off other bidders, and establishment by a price they can afford.
    Down the line the PL and others may discover the his has become a rich man’s game with, on occasion, just to keep up appearances, a few scraps will be tossed to the he lesser teams such that a Leicester might win the Prem or others the FA cup. Even had Arsenal won the PL this year, the odds would be against them next year, as opposed to the powder blue juggernaut that might win 8 of 10 times. This is no longer Arsenal vs Fergie, but more one big bank vs another, and maybe Saudi vs Bahraini or Omani, especially now that the Russians have left the scene.
    Sadly, this may be true for any sport that does not establish very strict and enforceable spending caps as does, for now, the NBA or NFL and MLB. Now we see that whole sports can be bought as LIV has proven and as the Saudi Football is quickly demonstrating. What we see here with Rice and others is a precursor and soon, it will mean the death of the various leagues or maybe they will become amateur clubs playing for the live of their respective sport, while the wealthy few play each other for the enjoyment of their billionaire owner’s egos and any fans willing to pay for overpriced tickets


    Is it just Me or are we just spending? Rice who has maybe 2 years left on his contract is costing over 100, City should pay that money, if I was Arsenal, I’m in the camp of Neville and Redknap, No more than 60, maybe 70, but one the other hand, if we’ve been so Stupid to pay 65 for Havertz, we might as well pay the 100.

    We are a joke, Havertz for 65? What about that Diaby from Germany we were linked to? Would have been less, anyway, that’s My take on it

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      I wrote about how weird it feels to see us finally be spending so…freely in the last few windows. KSE are apparently opening the purse strings. At this point, missing out on Rice over 10-15m might cost us in the long run. In the short run, signing Rice could change a UCL group stage match from a loss to a draw or a win. A draw is worth around £900m, a win is worth around £2.8m, and it snowballs from there. We urgently need depth, and with rumours of Xhaka and Partey possibly leaving, signing Rice becomes even more pressing.

  4. Brian

    I’m not sure what Nketiah’s value is now that he’s under a £5mil.+ per season contract?
    As much as I like him, he’s not top draw…

    The other point I want to make is about the disrespectful tone you use when talking about West Ham. Three straight seasons in Europe after winning, actually winning a European trophy!

    1. Eoin

      where’s the disrespect? I don’t see it. Maybe where John said that 100m is more sensible than 120m for Rice? Plenty of people llike Carragher and Neville have questioned West Ham’s valuation. Citeh bought Grealish for 100m, is Rice better? Is Rice more valuable to West Ham than Grealish was for Villa? This is an Arsenal blog, mate, John doesn’t have to mind his ps and qs for the occasional rival who pop up.

  5. consolsbob

    If your intent is to stir up the trolls and fools who trawl the internet looking for an affront and a fight, you are succeeding. You now have more posters who support other clubs than Arsenal supporters. Not all the brightest ones either.

    Not sure that is the direction to take if you want to develop a serious blog for Arsenal fans to debate on.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      It is my aim to develop a serious blog & community for Arsenal fans. Mentioning other clubs sometimes results in a post getting listed in those sections of NewsNow – I hardly think that rival fans are hunting this blog down (or maybe the blog has a higher profile than I knew). I thought that discussing the inclusion of Nketiah in our bid to get Rice would only be of interest to Arsenal fans, but apparently not.

  6. Kelechi

    I wish Nketiah could follow Saka’s path but he just doesn’t have that edge. It looked like he was taking his chance but faded too quickly when we needed him. It says a lot when you’re second string but aren’t the one called on when the one who starts ahead of you is injured for 1/3 of the season. Decent player…but we’ve had too many decent players at that position. if offering him to West Ham helps to get us Rice, that’s maybe the best way for him to help this club!

    1. Nobody

      If want Rice, £100m or U leave it. Man City paid Aston Villa two years ago £100m for Jack n by the way Jack was contracted to Villa by more than a year n the same as Rice is to WH, Jack was a boyhood n a ladder to Villa but everyone just complained it’s overpaid. In case Arsenal ends up singing Rice I hope they did that not by matching what City paid to Villa.

  7. Pingback: Man City submit “embarrassing” bid for Declan Rice… | Woolwich 1886, an Arsenal site

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