Arsenal are reportedly interested in West Ham United’s Declan Rice, but face competition from Newcastle United and Manchester United.
What’s the latest on Arsenal’s interest in Rice?
As per Matteo Moretto’s tweet, the Gunners are “very aware” of the England international, but other Premier League clubs are in the race as well.
The tweet said in full:
“Newcastle join the race for Declan Rice. They like him a lot and there have already been contacts between the parties.
“Obviously, the competition is high: Manchester United and Arsenal are very aware of the West Ham midfielder.”
The north London side will have to fend off Saudi-backed Newcastle if they are to sign Rice, who is thought to be available for a fee in the region of £80m.
What would Rice bring to Arsenal?
The 24-year-old midfielder has shone in West Ham’s team for a considerable time now.
Under the guidance of David Moyes, Rice – who was once hailed as “admirable” by talkSPORT’s Tony Cascarino – has developed into one of the best in the Premier League in his position.
When compared to those in the same position across Europe’s top five leagues in the last 365 per 90 minutes by FBref, the 6-foot titan ranks within the top 4% for interceptions and the top 9% for clearances.
These statistics show that the former Chelsea youth star, who was previously compared to Roy Keane by Stuart Pearce, has a strong defensive aspect to his game. In comparison to Arsenal’s Thomas Partey, Rice wins a higher percentage of his tackles (65.7% to 55.6%) and makes more interceptions per 90 minutes (1.62 to 1.12) than the Ghanaian.
One of the main advantages of the £60k-per-week star’s offensive game is his ability to drive with the ball into opposition territory. This season, the Kingston upon Thames-born midfielder, who joined West Ham at the age of 14, has made 2.52 progressive carries per 90 minutes, with 2.17 of these reaching the final third, as per FBref.
This particular ability will suit Arsenal well, as they have a considerable amount of possession each match. Due to this possession, the Gunners need to ensure that each player is comfortable on the ball, which Rice is.
West Ham’s stalwart in the heart of their team has played every Premier League minute possible this season for the east London side – a valuable trait for Mikel Arteta due to Thomas Partey’s inconsistencies. If the Gunners are able to pry Rice away from the Hammers and out of Newcastle and Man Utd’s grasp, it will be an impressive coup.