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Arsenal wins the race to sign Declan Rice

Declan Rice Arsenal
Arsenal is set to sign Declan Rice from West Ham (Matthew Childs/Reuters)

Arsenal wins the race to sign Declan Rice

The Declan Rice transfer saga appears to be over after Manchester City refused to match Arsenal’s bid for the world-class defensive midfielder.

Arsenal and West Ham have agreed to a £100 million ($127 million) deal plus £5 million ($6.3 million) in add-on fees for Rice. This will be a Premier League record fee for a British player and Arsenal’s record transfer fee.

Manchester City has decided to not challenge Arsenal’s bid, meaning the Gunners now stand alone in the pursuit to sign Rice.

The competition to sign him was fierce, with Manchester City pushing Arsenal all the way until the end to secure the Englishman’s services.

Arsenal had its two opening bids for Rice rejected by West Ham, including a £75 million plus £15 million in add-ons bid submitted last week. This opened the door for Manchester City, who were keen on adding Rice to their already stacked midfield.

However, City proved unwilling to completely break the bank for Rice. Signing Rice was far more important for Arsenal than City who already has elite defensive midfielder Rodri, and because of this, the Gunners were the ones who were ultimately willing to splash the cash.

Rice impressed during his time with West Ham, captaining the club and leading it to a UEFA Conference League title last season. He made 245 appearances for the Hammers and was beginning to become a club legend.

Despite a good relationship with West Ham, however, Rice decided that he wanted to leave due to his ambition to play in the Champions League and win trophies.

Top clubs immediately showed interest, with Arsenal and Manchester City leading a pack that also included Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich. Ultimately, though, Rice has decided to stay in London and will be a Gunner next season.

Why Arteta Wanted Rice

Rice was Mikel Arteta’s primary transfer target this summer for a reason. An elite defensive midfielder like Rice has the ability to transform how a team plays. They provide additional cover for defenders while also serving as deep-lying playmakers that can help start the attack.

Rice has proven he can do all of this and more. He is an elite defender who also has a remarkable passing ability. Although West Ham utilized his defensive ability more than his attacking ability last season, he still has proven he can also attack, scoring five goals in successive seasons.

Arteta will give him more freedom to attack than he was given at West Ham. If Arteta can help Rice achieve the attacking potential that Rice has shown flashes of, then Arsenal is going to have a very special player.

He also has an incredible amount of experience for a player as young as he is. The 24-year-old has already made over 200 Premier League appearances and has experience playing in big tournaments at both the club and international level. He was West Ham’s captain for a reason, and despite being relatively young for a midfielder, he is ready to immediately become a leader for Arsenal.

This is Arsenal’s second big transfer so far this summer. The club also signed Kai Havertz earlier this June.

They don’t appear to be satisfied with just these two signings either and are also looking to sign Ajax defender Jurriën Timber to the squad as they look to challenge Manchester City’s Premier League dominance next year.

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