Tag Archives: Declan Rice

How many Seagulls will Arsenal swoop for this summer?

The January signing of Leandro Trossard has proven to be one of the smartest mid-season signings in recent history, but rather than scratching an itch, it may have triggered a new hunger. We did go all-in for Brighton’s Moisés Caicedo, after all, and recent reports suggest that we’re still after him despite his re-upping his contract. Well, add another name to the list of Seagulls we’re linked to: Alexis Mac Allister.

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What Declan Rice can learn from Saka, Martinelli, Xhaka, White, Saliba, Ramsdale…

Declan Rice’s career as a footballer will soon be at a crossroads. On one hand, he can stay at West Ham and simply be run into the ground by Moyes or whoever replaces him. On another hand, he can be a hood ornament on a luxury club like Man City or PSG. Sure, silverware galore, but as in that first case, he won’t develop, grow, or improve. That brings me to the other, other hand—join a club that is quickly become famous for developing young players into superstars. Arsenal have always been renowned for this, but Mikel Arteta is taking things to a whole ‘nother level. 

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Secret Agent Jack Wilshere lures Declan Rice to join Arsenal…

This is the transfer rumour that just won’t go away, isn’t it? We’re going to move Declan Rice to the Emirates by sheer dint of will—or, if rumour has it, Wilshere. As the story goes, our own Jack Wilshere, current manager of the u18s and former teammate of the former Irishman, could be our ace in the hole when it comes to securing Rice’s services. The two buddied up during Wilshere’s two-year spell at West Ham, and Rice has gushed over their relationship while also dropping hints about his future and his desire to play Champions League football. His contract is up in June 2024, but the persistent rumours suggest he’ll be moving in a matter of months. 

Asked “How much help has Jack Wilshere been for you, having gone through the same experiences [of getting dropped after mistakes on the pitch]?” by the official West Ham website, Rice had the following to say:

Me and Jack has been a surprise friendship. We get on so well, we’re like best friends really…to be training with him is crazy because I grew up watching Jack Wilshere putting in performances on Match of the Day and against Lionel Messi in the Champions League in 2010, when he was only a kid. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. Jack has been great for me.

That sounds like an answer that was just waiting to spill out. To start with such a personal response about friendship feels like an accidental tell, as if Rice has been kept this little bromance under wraps for far too long and just couldn’t wait for a chance to declare his feelings to the world. Our man Wilshere has clearly made an impression on Rice.

Rice went on to talk about how Wilshere’s career was racked by injury, denying him international caps and chances at silverware. That, and the fact that he grew up watching Wilshere play against Lionel Messi and other stars has to weigh on Rice’s mind. He has to know what it will be a long, long time before West Ham ever make it back to continental competition, be it the Europa Conference League or anything else. By helpful contrast, Rice has the ageless Mark Noble to listen and learn from. While Noble might wax nostalgic about the glory and loyalty of devoting yourself to one club (although he did spend two years at Hale End), he might also speak wistfully of never having played in the Champions League. At a risk of getting ahead of ourselves, we look like the only London club likely to qualify. 

‘Twixt the two and with West Ham teetering on the edge of relegation, Rice could very well have his head turned should Wilshere continue pouring honey in his ear. We’d probably have to go north of £100m to secure his services, but that once eye-popping figure is quickly becoming a starting point for negotiations rather than a ceiling for fees. Maybe not, though. Chelsea are showing that spending big does not translate to success, at least not directly; and recent relevations at Newcastle and allegations against Man City could have a dampening effect on transfer fees. Hard to say.

We’ll hear more about this little saga for months on end, I’m sure, and it won’t end until one club or another’s official website settles the issue. Until then, let’s hope we can count on our man to get us our man.

Declan Rice has "agreed terms with Arsenal ahead of summer switch"

They’ll learn to get along, right?

If you’re the credulous sort, you may not know what the word credulous means, in which case, mail your wallet to me (best to overnight it) after making sure your credit card is there and you’ve recently visited an ATM. The normally creditable site FourFourTwo is out with a report that states that Rice has agreed a five-year deal at £200,000 per week, more than triple his current £60,000 per week salary. If true—and that’s a bigger if than I know how to display with any keyboard shortcut I have availableit would make for massive news and a validation of our decision to sign Jorghino (who’s been somewhat of a revelation thus far) at a mere £12m.

With rumours swirling around an impending sacking of David Moyes, whose obdurate refusal to admit that West Ham’s swirling of the drain makes players available at somewhat less than his inflated estimations, a summer-move for Rice looks all the more likely. What’s more, the one-time Irishman has a contract that expires in June 2024, which forces the club to stare directly into the face of losing Rice on a free transfer. Whether or not they get relegated, selling Rice in the summer might just be what’s best for the club. Cashing out at, say £70m would allow the Hammers to sign two or three players (should they stay up) or a half-dozen (should they drop down).

As for the 24 year old, he’s clearly thirsty for a chance at Champions League football, something he’s only ever caught a glimpse of after West Ham made it to the Europa Leage semifinal last year. With West Ham far more likely to get relegated than to qualify for even the Europa Conference League, he must be eyeing up Arsenal’s current campaign, which, if I may be so bold, looks likely to get us a Champions League spot next year. 

Furthermore, Rice has to be looking at our current squad. Neither Party nor Xhaka nor Jorginho is a spring chicken. He’s already recognised as world-class or close to it at his position and could make a convincing argument for walking into our XI should he sign. He seems versatile enough to play as a 6 or an 8, meaning he could offer cover and competition to both Xhaka and Partey (and Jorginho). Along the way, he’d offer enviable tactical flexibility to a manager who obsesses over that. Think of it: in that centre-mid, Arteta could have the kind of selection headache that most managers, even Pep, can only dream about. Between Xhaka, Partey, Jorginho, and Rice, he could keep any opposing manager off-balance. Add Zinchenko to the mix, and you’ve got the kind of cocktail that’ll put anyone on the floor. 

At any rate, between now and late August, prepare yourself to come across any number of incredulous headlines asserting that Rice has finalised a move to the correct end of London. Just keep in mind that none of those other sources know any more about this situation than your correspondent (which is to say, only what I read from those other sources). If Rice is to end up at the Arsenal, we’ll have to wait until it’s announced at the club website. 

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Declan RIce's been asking about life at Arsenal…

Well, well, well. It looks like a certain transfer-target has been sizing up options as his current club flounders, his former club casts about, and his preferred club thrives. Although the transfer window has been closed a week, that won’t stop tongues wagging, and one of the stories quickening pulses has been that of a potential move to a different area of London for one Declan Rice. Having come through the Chelsea Academy (which does apparently exist despite almost all outward indications and having been a West Ham talisman, there’s been plenty of chatter around the idea that Rice favors a move to Arsenal regardless of West Ham’s ability to stave off relegation.

Adrian Clarke said on The Handbrake Off Podcast: “I can’t reveal my source, but I do know that Declan has been sounding out people connected with the club saying: ‘What’s it like [at Arsenal]?’” Even if the answer consists of little more than, “well, it’s better than at West Ham”, that would be enough to inspire the erstwhile Irishman to push for a move away. After all, it’s quite clear that loyalty to one’s boyhood club means very little to a player who’s willing to switch nationalities, but I digress.

Rice spent a great deal of time at the entirely-convenient Winter World Cup with compatriots such as Saka, Ramsdale, and White, each of whom could have testified enthusiastically about their own individual development as well as the collective excitement of sitting top of the league—a stark contrast indeed to the situation over in East London where, despite a massive investment of almost £175m in the summer after reaching the Europa League semifinals, West Ham are barely staving off relegation. 

Aged 24 until he’s 25, Rice has to be looking at his next contract. He also has to be looking at his options. Man City are almost surely off the table after their flirtation with financial impropriety. Liverpool, Chelsea, and Tottenham are similarly undesirable for various reasons. Man U might be somewhat more attractive, what with Casemiro aged 30 and Fred 29. Would he fancy pairing with 26 year old McTominay for the foreseeable future, or would he prefer competinng or at least rotating with Xhaka and Partey? That’s a fair question. Man U have looked impressive of late. Much may ride on how they and we fare in the Prem and in the Europa League as well. If Man U miss out on Champions League paly next season, we might as well pencil Rice into the starting lineup (all the more reason to oust them should we our paths cross).

David Moyes, speaking as someone who imagines himself still at the wheel when summer comes, has declared that “Dec will be blowing [Enzo Fernandez’s £107m fee] out of the water, that’s for sure, when it comes around.” In so saying, Moyes has essentially conceded that Rice is making a a move sooner rather than later, and he did so just days ahead of the Prem announcing 113 charges against Man City for various financial improprieties. In other words, this brave new world of astronomical transfer fees may yet enter a cooling off period, allowing saner clubs (such as ours) secure the signing of a player like Rice at somewhat lower fees. After all, if Chelsea are monitoring the investigation into Man City, that’s two clubs no longer distorting the market, at least for the time being. 

And that can only be a good thing for the Arsenal.