Arsenal expert reveals Arteta’s transfer dilemma based around Declan Rice

Arsenal looking to bolster midfield with a player to compliment Rice

The Arsenal specialist James McNicholas at The Athletic has reported that Arsenal will be looking to bolster their midfield by bringing in either a number 6 or and 8 to try compliment Declan Rice, but haven’t decided which position to go for yet.

It will all depend on the role Rice is set to play in the middle next season. James has reported that at this present time Arsenal are leaning towards a number 6 so Rice can stay in the number 8 role but with the market looking tight this summer, they may have to go for a 8 instead.

For me, Rice is a number 6, I think he plays the number 6 role better than the 8, don’t get me wrong, he’s a versatile midfielder and I think he can and will be happy to play wherever he is needed but for me, I just like him in a deeper role, controlling the game and having the time to create chances. His vision is incredible, always seems to know where his teammates are or are going to be and makes passes that most players wouldn’t even dream of trying.

I do think we should be building our squad around a player like Rice though, he’s going to be here for a long time and the way he has settled into the side has made him one of our most important players. I always saw a lot of potential in Rice at West Ham and I knew he would come to Arsenal and shine, but I didn’t expect him to become so important, so soon, but our best plan of action would be to build our team around him and his calmness in the middle.

We know that Arteta wants business done early so that he doesn’t have to worry about players integrating themselves at the start of the season, he wants as much business done as possible before the pre-season matches start, so everyone can bond and settle in with each other, in time for the start of the season.

Although I think Rice is better in the 6 position, he has proved he can play anywhere in midfield and if bringing in a talented young midfielder to compliment him in the middle, even if it is a 6, I think he will be able to make it work.

What’s your thoughts Gooners?

Daisy Mae


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  1. I agree. He did well last season, returning the most productive scoring haul of his career, but his defensive contributions are by far and away his strongest asset and we should absolutely play into it. He is good going forward but actual quite limited when compared to players such as Bruno Guimaraes, who excel at both the offensive and defensive aspects.

    We are not going to find too many defensive midfielders as good as Rice because he is just so good at it. There are other good ones like João Palhinha, but they are few are far between. Which leaves players like Zubimendi, who are deep lying playmakers in the mold of Jorginho, rather than actual proper DMs.

    My choice would be Amadou Onana. Whilst his technical ability is inferior compared to players like Jorginho, Partey, and even Zinchenko, who could and should play a deep midfield role, Onana at 21 and 6’4″ is a very attractive prospect and could be a great partner to Declan Rice. His defensive graft is admirable and with his height and physicality he would pose a real offer since threat, too.

    1. I like the logic in your argument but Rice improves our attack when he plays 8 and we hardly lose a game when he plays there. If we could get two 6s and let Rice permanently at 9, we would dominate most opponents.

  2. Rice covers 6 and 8 so well when you look at his stats. I still would like to see White or Timber trialed in the DM role ( a lil stones-esk style ). I am not suggesting this should be the answer for the transfer window and a midfielder is needed to be bought in but I also would like to see us playing some of our more versatile players in these positions to try them… Who would have guessed white being one of the best RBs in the league, not many.

    Trust in Edu and Arteta with their process and selection!

  3. Just sign Bruno and then we have two players that can play both positions very well. They are intelligent players and can interchange during the game, just like Arteta want. It will be perfect.

  4. Whether it’s a 6 or an 8, whoever plays with rice should be a very good passer who can spot the openings quickly – for me, that’s what we lacked last season when rice was playing deeper and havertz was in that 8 role. We became too predictable and over reliant on saka or odegaard to produce something out of nothing.
    My preference is for rice to continue playing the box to box role because I think it gets the most out of him in our system. His engine allows him to press high up the pitch *and* contribute to the deeper defensive screen, and he’s a great at making himself available for passes in attacking areas. Also don’t think he’s a great playmaker like partey and jorginho, which is most useful in that 6 position in our team.

  5. Arsenal should do everything possible to sign Zubimendi he is a technically gifted combertive box to box midfielder. Alternative is Fofana. But Onana can be groomed by Arteta but you can hardly train a player well on technical front it usually come as a tarlent.
    However it’s not looking like Pathey would leave

  6. Arteta and Rice were very clear from the beginning that part of coming to Arsenal was to develop and improve Rice’s game in terms of goals being further up the pitch

    following our incredible 2024 PL form underpinned by Rice moving to #8 and Havertz to #9 then undoubtedly it has worked for both team and player = no way Arteta sees Rice moving back to #6

    so in that respect there is no dilemma, Arteta/Edu are certain we need a #6, probably two, the second one perhaps a bit more versatile across the middle = midfield rebuild to replace Elneny (gone), Partey (going) and Jorginho (short term)

    that is why specialist #6 Zudimendi is top of the list

    and Guimeras who can play #6, #8 and #10 is on the radar

    patch up jobs like White or Timber to #6, or moving Rice back to #6, are backward steps in the ‘fine margins’ that will cost us the title, much more impact than any new striker

    which also explains why no chance of >£100m Osihmen type striker, and why lower cost, younger and more versatile Sesko is being looked at

  7. Arteta could tweak his formation to allow Rice to play both a 6 and an 8 at times.

    A 4-2-3-1 with the 2 deeper midfielders in a pivot. Fofana would be great partner, and so would various others.

    If Arteta refuses to break his 4-3-3 setup, then it diminishes flexibility and potential transfer options, like strictly a DM.

    Arteta prefers flexibility, so that’s why I suggest tweaking the formation to accommodate that flexibility.

    1. Versatility rather than flexibility, that’s why I suspect he gets a midfielder that can play as a DM rather than signing someone who is strictly a DM.

      1. against elite opposition i think we need that specialist DM, Jorginho has been retained partly to do that, but we need more, Zudimendi a good fit

        against other opposition, especially XI behind the ball low block, then versatility comes to fore, Guimeras a good fit

        that is why i think we might end up going for two midfielders, the problem is £££

        i don’t see Arteta changing the way we play, Arteta/Edu would rather pre-empt and recruit solution in, changing formation to accomodate is a last resort for an injury crisis not bad planning (well I hope not anyway)

        I do see midfield as our biggest priority this summer

        1. Valid points, but that has not been the way Arteta thinks. He prefers “versatility” over “specialist” and always has.

          He is very rigid in his system and has shown he will shoehorn players, square pegs in round holes, before he changes his formation.

          For example, half a season of Havertz at midfield before he realized how unbalanced it was, the Villa game being the final proof.

          Several years of forcing Jesus in the lineup even though Pep already knew he was not a striker, and so should Arteta after being an assistant with Pep.

          Unfortunately we went a couple years with that failed experiment, only for Havertz to step in the 2nd half of this year.

          Rice is a world class DM, but played B2B as much if not more than DM. We even played with 4 CB’s in the back line many times this year, not a single FB on our roster this year.

          Arteta will not get a straight up DM, just like he has never got a straight up striker, or fullback, or many other positions.

          He prefers “versatility” over specialists.

          1. i hear you, and you are right

            perhaps to re-phrase, one of the two midfielders will be a more defensively inclined midfielder who can play defence splitting through balls, e.g. a #6 who can also play #8 or #10, like Zudimendi

            and the other a more attack minded midfielder who drop back when out of possession, e.g. a #8 or #10 who can also play #6, like Guimeras

            in these conversations we usually discuss depth and interchangeability between #6 and #8, often forgetting Odegaard is our only genuine #10 with little cover (ESR is more #8, Vieira not there yet), if Guimeras has #10 in his locker then may be the difference to meeting his absurd £100m buy-out clause

            1. I agree with your comments and we have seen that when we play.

              I think Arteta is looking for someone who can interchange with Rice much like Jesus does with wingers.

              Jorginho did that, but not a solid defender I would want to rely on.

              Partey did that brilliantly, but he is unreliable with injuries.

              The options available are overpriced, so there is a tough decision to be made.

              Overpay for the skill set he wants, or get a specialist DM.

              IMO I think Fofana would be a good choice. He can interchange with Rice, he is quality, and reasonable fee being in the final year of his contract.

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