How lucky are Arsenal for going for Declan Rice instead of Moises Caicedo?

Arsenal were anxious to add another holding midfielder to their squad during the winter transfer window. Moises Caicedo was singled out for this transfer need.

However, signing the Ecuadorian was not as simple as identifying him as a good fit for Arteta’s project, as the Seagulls turned down three large bids worth between £60 million and £70 million.

Arsenal then signed Jorginho from Chelsea as a makeshift replacement, and he has proved himself to be a bargain after all.

There was speculation that the club would return for Caicedo in the summer, but they didn’t. Instead, they signed Declan Rice for a fee of up to £105 million.

But Caicedo still left the Armex Stadium this summer, joining Chelsea for a reported £115 million.

4 games into the new campaign Rice has been a game-changer for Arsenal. It’s reassuring to see how well he’s integrated into Arsenal’s midfield. Caicedo, on the other hand, hasn’t had a great start to life at Stamford Bridge; he’s been erroneous and has unfortunately led to Chelsea conceding some goals, such as against West Ham and Nottingham Forest, that should have been averted.

Rice has had a greater influence on Arsenal than Caicedo has on Chelsea, which must justify Arteta’s decision to pass on the 20-year-old in favour of the Englishman.

When asked who is better than the two, the ex-Gunner Paul Merson chose his former club’s No. 41, noting that Rice, who he wants to see score more, gives you everything and is a player who can produce a moment of brilliance out of nowhere at any time on the pitch, but he is not sure Caicedo can.

“With Declan Rice, when you weigh him and Moises Caicedo up, it’s so different. Rice gives you everything,” Merson said on Sky Sports.

“It’s 1-1, and Arsenal have really got to win the game if they want to keep tabs with Manchester City. He’s on, and he scores the goal.

“On Saturday, Chelsea are 1-0 down, and they take Caicedo off. They’re both holding midfield players, but one gives you a lot more.

“If Rice can throw goals into his game, then I dread to think how much he’s worth.”

In addition to Merson, Kevin Campbell also recently spoke about the Arsenal midfield engine – who he acknowledges the fine start he has had at the Emirates, but he believes we are only seeing a glimpse of what Rice can give, because he is still adjusting to the demands of playing for Arsenal.

“I’m going to be really honest with you. I truly think that Declan Rice is only working to about 60/65% capacity of his talent at the moment. I really do. I say that because you’re seeing him in games try things where he drives and he’s trying to play 1-2s around the box, and sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn’t. He’s learning to play this system; it’s been four games, and he’s been immense in all four. Imagine when he has 24 games under his belt. His ceiling is massive,” Campbell said on Highbury Squad Youtube.

There is no doubt that Rice has revitalised Arsenal. Hopefully, he can assist them in executing a successful PL charge. Who knows, he could have been the missing link between them and their ambition to win the league all along, and maybe Arsenal dodged a bullet by missing out on Moises Caicedo?

Daniel O

Tags Caicedo Campbell Declan Rice Meros


  1. We just pitched it right

    Caicedo would have been a great buy at £60-70m but not worth what Chelsea shelled out. He has talent and promise but Rice has experience.

  2. Can we please stop judging players off just a few games, with zero context. It’s embarrassing!

    Buying Rice was always the smarter move. He’s a seasoned pro in the EPL, a leader, and from what I have witnessed, a true professional.

    Although Caicedo does have huge potential, there is no guarantees it will be fulfilled. He did have great season at Brighton in what was his first full season in the starting XI, but it’s only one season. We have seen many players over the years have a wonder season, only to be rubbish afterwards.

    He doesn’t seem very professional, and clearly zero loyalty. Now to be fair to him, he’s joined a club in an absolute mess, with a clueless owner, and with
    a bunch of kids around him. It’s going to be very tough for him to develop into a quality player in that situation, unless Chelsea start getting some experienced players in.

    1. Rice might be awful over the next 4 games, and Caicedo might be awesome over the next 4 games.

      So do we then have an article about what a terrible mistake we made signing Rice?

  3. Obviously Rice has more experience, more discipline, he’s young and a great leader. And Caicedo on the other hand he’s just the potential and the determination, for me they’re both overpriced but Rice to a lesser extent.

  4. It was a great decision, because Rice is homegrown, taller and able to be our poster boy for many years

    Arteta probably wanted Caicedo to play inverted-fullback, but we managed to sign a much cheaper version of him in Timber. Unfortunately, Timber got a long-term injury

  5. I was never in for Caicedo because of his physicality which Rice has in abundance.

    Am hopeful Rice will go on to help us win trophies

  6. These comparisons are illogical. You can never tell how a player will perform in any team until they are there.

    If Caicedo had come to us I can almost guarantee he would’ve looked WAAAAY better than he does at Chelsea….becasue we are a better team!

  7. Declan Rice is undoubtedly a class player and it is safe to say a much better player than Caicedo. It is good that Arsenal got Rice over Caicedo, the quality levels are different. That said, Rice has got his English friends in Saka, ESR, White, Ramsdale and Nelson, so it makes the transition that much easier. Rice has fitted in seemlesly at Arsenal and I am sure this is just the beginning and much greater things are about to come from him. His goal against United at the crucial moment shows he is a big game player and is vital to the Arsenal cause.

  8. I suppose if a managers superb buying judgement can be described -in some fantasy scenario- as “LUCK”, THEN YES WE ARE LUCKY, to have Rice.
    But not otherwise!
    Perhaps, .by extension of that misused word, all top managers have nothing but LUCK, as the reason they win trophies.
    Luck does exist in football but NOT when deciding which player to buy, whether good, bad or average judgement is involved.

    I accept one can be lucky in that a player is rarely injured or unlucky, in being injury prone.

    But LUCK is not a part of deciding who to buy.

    That is called JUDGEMENT and can work out for , against or middling But it AINT LUCK!.

  9. They both have equal physical qualities, stamina, athleticism and a good heat map and defensive blocks. The difference is Rice has a better footballing brain, and can captain a side and has better positional sence, because he is a master at reading the game. So its a difference of intelligence. Caicedo joined chelsea after all, so that proves my point.!

  10. Rice for England has always impressed me very much. Bellingham got the hype but I thought Rice was rock solid and the two of them complement each other, in fact, England’s whole midfield does that, it’s a really strong midfield. Based on that I wanted Rice over Caicedo from the start

  11. Too early to pass a comparative judgment on both. The league hasn’t gone halfway. Chelsea are not a compact team for now, but with the passing of time.

  12. City were willing to compete for the signature of Rice. While City may not be the perfect judge of players, their records show that they can spot a good one. So for willing to pay £95m for Rice while bulking at a £85m deal for Paquetta is a compliment to the quality of the former.
    So yes, Arsenal were lucky to get Rice. Good to know that he always wanted Arsenal

  13. Rice is just a man of better character than Caicedo. That’s what Arteta wants at Arsenal. I think he dodged a bit of a bullet by not signing Caicedo and his actions since we tried to sign him show his lack of character and class compare to Rice. His tackle on Martinelli in our game against Brighton told Arteta all he needed to know. I think one good season at Chavs (if it happens) and he’ll be off to the next highest bidder. Rice will be loyal I believe.

  14. you cannot judge caicedo after 4 games with a new team that were awful last season and trying to find system that works for them.
    i would not have been disapointed with caicedo if we had signed him, and he could have a higher ceiling than rice, however, rice is more of the player arsenal needed with his leadership ability and drive.

  15. We are lucky that Brighton would not sell us Caciedo because contrary to the odd report. We would not have bought Rice, if they had. So make of it what you will but we ended up with the correct player for Arsenal.

  16. I said at the beginning Rice is worth every penny we spent as he will get better and better. I’m that convinced that if we ever sell him it would be for three times the amount we bought him for.

    Caicedo and Rice are 2 different kinds of DMs so it is impossible to compare and to be honest I didn’t think he was worth the 70 million in January for a one year wonder.

    Anyway, give it 3 years when his form has fallen of a cliff the Chavs will sell him for half the price they paid for him to appease FFP.and that his form will fall

  17. Agree with NB above that Caicedo and Rice are two different midfielders, with differing attributes and abilities. Rice suits Arsenal’s requirements in a positional sense better, given that they had party.
    Also it is too early to assess the relative performances of the respective players or their ultimate contributions to Arsenal or Chelsea. Surfeit to say, that Rice has settled in faster at Arsenal than Caicedo at Chelsea. This may be due to the influence of their respective managers. One only has to look at the improvement in Caicedo”s Brighton prefecessor Bissouma at Spurs under Ange Postecoglou, after being disgarded by Conte.

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