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Does Declan Rice Make Arsenal 2024 Premier League Favorites?

Declan Rice Arsenal

Declan Rice
Arsenal is set to sign Declan Rice from West Ham. (Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports)

Declan Rice Is A Statement Signing For Arsenal

Declan Rice is now officially an Arsenal player. The former West Ham midfielder joined the Gunners in a deal that makes him the most expensive British player in history. Despite having agreed to a fee a while ago, all of the anticipation is now over. The Premier League runners-up in 2023 made the acquisition official on their Twitter:

Despite the backlash and trolls, Arsenal now has one of the best players in the Prem. He instantly received comparisons for midfield legend Patrick Vieira, and rightfully so. However, just how much will he move the needle for Mikel Arteta? Rice is the third summer signing for Arsenal, along with Jurrien Timber and Kai Havertz.

It’s worth noting that Arteta and director Edu beat out Manchester City to his signing. With the blue side of Manchester undergoing a pretty significant squad transformation, can 2023/2024 be the special season fans have been waiting for?

The Price Is Rice

Rice’s ability should not be understated. There are so many things he can do on the pitch. He’s been West Ham’s best player for the better part of a half-decade and fittingly ended his career there with a Conference League triumph. Had it not been for his consistent excellence, there is a very good chance the Hammers face relegation during 2022/2023.

For starters, he is 24-years-old and is already one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, plus is a fully capped England international. Furthermore, he can sit back and set the tempo for a team next to the center backs. He is both strong and calculated in his tackling, as he goes for the ball at just the right time and angle more times than not. Rice has also shown his ability as a great ball carrier, with agility and even some flair to his dribbling.

Having a smart player like him ahead of the defense will make William Saliba and Gabriel’s jobs even easier. Mind you, those two were already one of the League’s best center-back pairings.

He can single-handedly anchor a midfield if you already couldn’t tell. That will make life for the aforementioned Havertz and Martin Ødegaard, who scored 15 league goals last season, very fun. As well, he will likely fit in amazingly to the locker room. He’s already spent international duty many times with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale.

As a Manchester United fan, watching a rival pick up a player of his caliber hurts. Had it been 15 years ago, Rice is a player Sir Alex Ferguson would likely dream of having. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Arsenal must now once again go toe-to-toe with the treble-winning City.

Is It Enough?

At the very least, this current Arsenal squad will push the Cityzens even further than last season. Pep Guardiola also out-dueled his former apprentice twice in their head-to-head matchups. If Arteta is able to defend the Emirates and take three points from the Sky Blues at home, it adds yet another wrinkle to a thrilling matchup.

I’d even go as far as saying Arsenal would win, IF City do not keep adding. Now of course, that won’t happen. There are still plenty of weeks left in the transfer window for Guardiola to add new players and retool his squad. Depending on who they add, however, will make this decision very close.

Declan Rice to Arsenal is a major statement of intent for the Gunners. They look set to push an even stronger title charge than 2022/2023.


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