It is Time to Celebrate World Declan Rice Day!
Yesterday was World Declan Rice Day, but the vibe is so good that we celebrate the awesome day today again.
Arsenal had identified Declan Rice as a target as far back as January 2023 but with West Ham languishing in a relegation battle, yet excelling in the UEFA Europa Conference League, the Irishman turned Englishman made the judgment call to remain at the club and help them to stay afloat and maybe go all in the way in the European tournament before deciding to leave. Following a run of two wins in their last five Premier League games, West Ham reached the coveted 40-point mark, securing their League status for another season with a 14th place finish, and David Moyes’ side went all the way in the Conference League, beating Fiorentina in the finals to win their first trophy since 1980, which was their FA Cup win over Arsenal at Wembley.
Arsenal waited for Rice and West Ham to bask in the euphoria of their European triumph, and as soon as the transfer window opened, the Gunners launched a £90 million bid for the West Ham captain, signaling their clear intent to get their man. West Ham rejected it. That didn’t deter Arsenal as the club went all in again with an improved bid, which was rejected. Manchester City came into the picture, which legitimately brought fear in the minds of everyone connected with Arsenal, but they merely matched the same bid Arsenal did, which was also rejected. With all this drama going on, we didn’t hear from Rice’s camp, as he remained calm as the situation unfolded.
Arsenal came back the third time with a monster bid of £105 million, which sent the football universe to shockwaves, as this bid would make Rice the most expensive British signing of all time, and it was accepted by the upper hierarchy at West Ham. Then we heard the good news that Rice had gone for his medicals, and then there was the wait.
It was quite the wait. Patience turned to anxiety. Anxiety turned to panic and angst.
The Gunners had started their preseason campaign with a draw against Nurnberg in Germany and there was no Rice in sight. Everyone also knew that Arsenal had the tour in USA and were scheduled to travel today, so if we didn’t get Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber after the Nurnberg game, we wouldn’t see them in action till after the MLS tour, which will be the Emirates Cup finals against AS Monaco and the Community Shield against Manchester City. But Arsenal had a plan to give their fans the best weekend ever! Timber was announced on Friday and Rice was announced yesterday.
Let’s talk about that announcement! The Arsenal announcement and the Adidas announcement. Sheer brilliance.
Arsenal smartly used the right music theme, Odumodublvck’s Declan Rice, for the reveal video. Rice himself loves the song, and has been seen online vibing to it, so it made perfect sense to use the same song for the package. The Adidas reveal was all shades of awesome, as it featured Top Boy’s Michael Ward with supporting acts from Aaron Ramsdale, Stromzy, Laura Woods, Eddie Nketiah and Ian Wright. Side note, when are we unveiling Ian Wright’s statue? That man has been an amazing ambassador for the club.
In recent campaigns, Arsenal had to make do with alternative transfer arrangements when the main target failed to come to fruition – A failed pursuit for Lisandro Martinez, saw the Gunners move to Oleksandr Zinchenko, After bullied by Chelsea and their new owner’s mega millions for Mykhailo Mudryk, the club moved to sign Leandro Trossard and a failed Moises Caicedo move saw Arsenal reach out to Jorginho at the end of the transfer window.
This time, it was Declan Rice or bust!!!
You have to give credit where it is due – Edu Gaspar and the negotiation team went all out to give Mikel Arteta want he wanted, as the Arsenal gaffer made it clear that Rice was his No. 1 priority target and the club needed to do what was required to get the deal over the line. Just like how Gabriel Jesus and Zinchenko revolutionized Arsenal’s play, Rice’s presence in the team will be transformative as he’s a generational talent and one of the absolute best in his playing position. His versatility is something that Arteta will relish as he can be deployed across several positions based on the tactical requirements.
Rice leaves West Ham after 10 years with the club, scoring 15 goals in 245 appearances, taking the captaincy that was vacated by their legend, Mark Noble, but I must express my disappointment for the pettiness shown by the club with some of their published statements,
“West Ham can confirm that agreement has been reached for Declan Rice to leave the club for a British record transfer fee” – No talk of the club that paid them a whopping £105m.
Joint-Chair David Sullivan said:
“I am sorry to see Declan leave us, but I believe that everyone at West Ham United should be very proud of the part we have played in his journey from the Academy of Football at Chadwell Heath to becoming the most valuable young player in English football.
“I would like to make it clear to our supporters that we did not want to sell Declan. We wanted to build our team around him and made a series of improved, long-term contract offers to secure his future. However, once Declan made it clear that he wished to move on and seek a new challenge, the Club felt it would not be right to stand in his way, acting in the best interests of West Ham United.”
Manager David Moyes added:
“I’d like to personally thank Declan for everything he has done during his time at West Ham United. Obviously it is sad when we say goodbye to someone who has been with us for so long but we must now look forward.
“West Ham United is a huge Club and, as history shows, no player is ever bigger than the Club. Our entire focus now is on building upon the success we enjoyed last season, adding to our talented UEFA Europa Conference League title winning squad as we enter our third consecutive season in Europe, and continuing to develop the best young talent through our successful Academy.”
There were loads of sour grapes involved, but in all honesty, it doesn’t matter.
Arsenal has gotten their man and he will be instrumental to our rise in the coming campaigns. At 24, he fits right in with the age profile of the team and he will fill the leadership void vacated by Granit Xhaka. He is also a big personality, which will bode well with the rest of the team, as he will be the enforcer of Arteta’s values, on and off the pitch.
Welcome to the Arsenal, Declan Rice.
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