There have been some strong speculations that Declan Rice will come to Arsenal this summer, or maybe even sooner than that. Who knows?!
The more serious sources in football, BBC and the Guardian, have both reported that Arsenal have had a meeting with Rice, including where and how they would see him fit into the team. Rice appears to want to move to Arsenal but money talks of course, and many a club will want the 24 year old English international to join them. Moreover, the way we are now playing, the very rich clubs with oil-deep pockets will want to stop Arsenal even getting better than we already are. But West Ham will want to help Rice to make the move he really wants such is the respect for him, a player who has played almost 200 games for them and is clearly too talented to hold on to. Arsenal can pay competitive wages so there should be no problem at all.
But the most appealing thing Arsenal will have to offer to him is to become part of the Arteta evolution; and boy is there a more exciting prospect in Europe right now?!
The big question is where would he play in our team: what did Arteta and Edu discuss with him? My short answer is he will play in Partey’s position and either Partey or Elneny will move on.
Thomas Partey has been very good recently and many believe he is making the biggest difference. He is positionally strong and has great presence on the pitch. There are two issues with Partey, however: prone to injury and not a great passer. The former is part of my prayers and the latter is an area where I cannot see him improve anymore. Thomas has three or four bad, unforced passes every game, and this is exactly where Rice will offer an upgrade. Arteta’s evolution is all to do with pressing (which TP does very well) and quick and accurate passing in tight spaces and under pressure. This is where we need to improve in the deeper midfield position imo.
Rice is mainly right footed and plays mainly on the right side of midfield. Xhaka is left footed and plays on the left. They would make a very strong couple in midfield. I believe that Zinchenko is Granit’s natural DM replacement and that Trossard and ESR will replace him in the more advanced position. Mikel rates and loves the almost always fit Xhaka and I cannot see him go anywhere. Finally, the fans have noticed this as well and he is getting the respect and love he truly deserves.
Average number of passes: 65.1/61.3
% successful: 86.6/89.4
Key passes: 0.9/1.3
Who would leave if Rice becomes a Gunner?
Well, if Partey is happy to play less going forward – in the end he will become 30 this summer – then I would imagine Mo will move on. Maybe Mo has had enough of playing so little these days and will want to have a go somewhere else. A swap with West Ham maybe? However, Elneny seems very settled with his role at Arsenal and Arteta rates him highly. So my guess is that Thomas would move on if Rice joins us this year.
What do you think?