|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 available—it 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.
Before you go, I hope you’ll consider adding your thoughts to the comments-section below. You can create a free Disqus account. I have heard from various visitors that trying to log in using the Google link below has been misfiring, and I apologize for that. Trust me when I say I am holding Disqus’s feet to the fire until they resolve the situation.