Souness doubts whether Declan Rice has the ability to improve Arsenal

Football pundit unsure if transfer target will improve the club

Graeme Souness, the former Liverpool midfielder and pundit, shared his perspective on Declan Rice’s potential impact at Arsenal, expressing his doubts about the midfielder’s ability to become an elite player. Souness stated:

“If you’re looking for a top, top midfield player, I don’t believe he has enough cute passing in him to be that. I think he’d be a really good guy, he’d be great to work with, extremely athletic, he senses danger so he’s got that part of a central midfield player’s game, he’s got that.”

“So he’s got that instinctively, but what he doesn’t have is cute and clever passes when he gets into the last third. I think he’s a little bit predictable when he gets on the ball personally.”

When asked if Rice’s game would improve at Arsenal, Souness added: “He’d make Arsenal better. Would he personally get better? Not sure… [James] Maddison has got that final ball. I’m not sure if that’s something he [Rice] can develop.”

“This is not a criticism, we’re talking about someone worth £100m. But for me, the top midfield players have what he has, and have the cuteness of play further up the field, and they’ll score goals and they create chances. His record is 204 games, ten goals, ten assists.”

Souness acknowledges Rice’s value as a player but raises questions about his ability to provide the creative spark needed to elevate Arsenal’s midfield to the next level.

While Rice’s defensive instincts and athleticism are commendable, Souness suggests that he may lack the finesse and inventiveness to excel in the final third, contrasting him with midfielders who possess a more cutting edge in their play.

Do you agree with his opinion?

Yash Bisht

EXCLUSIVE – First ever picture of Rice in an Arsenal Shirt

Tags Declan Rice souness


  1. Xhaka and Stones didn’t need Odegaard’s vision to excel in their positions. Rice could be an athletic left AM or false-CB like them

    I believe Arteta needs some big homegrown midfielders, after watching his diminutive playmakers got roughened up in tough games

    Howe just extended Guimaraes’ contract and signed another tough midfielder in Tonali. He seems to know that some flat-track bullies are required to physically-dominate highly-technical teams like ours

    1. For the record Rice is same height as Xhaka, Partey, and Lokonga. He is not a playmaker also. He can be bought for other reasons but not the ones you stated above.

        1. No one in Arsenals Midfield besides Viera is under 5’10 (178cm). Arsenal have big players mate. Gone are the days where we had short skinny people running around like Carzola, Wilshere, Walcott etc. Physically we are far from diminutive playmakers

          1. Trossard -174 cm
            Saka -178 cm
            Odegaard -179 cm
            Elneny -179cm
            Smith Rowe -181cm

            1. .

              ESR is taller than PARTEY, despite you saying he is 4 cms shorter. Its well known that players give false heights much of the time when their personal stats are listed.

              You are right though in combatting UtT, WHO FALSELY CLAIMED WE HAVE NO SHORTIES IN MIDFIELD.

              We have ONLY Xhaka in midfield who is actually TALL. Jorginho though is clearly taller than all others apart from XHAKA PARTEY AND ESR, despite not being actually TALL himself.

              PARTEY IS ONLYJUST ABOVE AVERAGE HEIGHT and ESR rarely plays anyway. I’d call our regular midfield shorter than most other teams, even though Saka is a foward, as is Martinelli.
              Our forwards are also short, esp JESUS.

            In midfiled only Xhaka is actually tall , PARTEY is JUST above mediun height and ESR, slightly taller than Partey, rarely plays. All others in non defence are either short or medium only.

            Overall we are a team that is shorter than most, though not as skinny as when Walcott, Rosicky played Wilshere and Cazorla were not skinny but stocky and muscular but lacked height.

            ONLY Viera in todays team would I CALL WEEDY.

            REMARKABLY SO TOO.

    2. Well said Gai, if PEPG could change the dynamics of MCity play by bringing Stones into midfield because of EPL bullies. It would be great if Arsenal and Arteta can sign DRice to add more physicality and technics to Arsenal game style. RLavia from what have seen plays like Canceido but has better passing range. If we can get him too with Timber we should be fine. With KHavertz, BSaka, GJesus and GMatinnelli we should be fine scoring goals. It doesn’t seem Arteta want to prioritize a new CF. I wish he does though.

      1. I think Caicedo is better at doing dirty work than Lavia, but Lavia is homegrown and taller. Both of them would be good options for Arsenal

    3. Xhaka and stones weren’t purchased at £120 million with a season left on their contract.
      Guimaraes is better that Rice and not valued at that outrageous price.
      It is a matter of value for money and avoiding overpaying bro.
      Our initial bids are already outrageous

  2. Souness is dead on the money here. 10 goals, 10 assists in 240 games? Where does the 100 million pound price tag come from? I can understand England fans wanting one of their own in the Arsenal side but I do not understand Edu’s or Arteta’s fascination with someone who is at the end of the day, just a very average player. Unfortunately we have a bad record when it comes to spending big money ( How Pepe must be laughing, ‘cos that’s money that will never be recouped ). Believe me, this is not a marriage made in heaven, and there’s going to be a lot of disgruntled voices around the Emirates when Rice fails to deliver.

  3. When Rice joins, Arsenal will only improve if Partey remains, his technical abilities in defense is paramount to the team.

    But I do get the feeling Arsenal is trying to usher Partey out for whatever reason.

    1. Not “when” but “IF”, after the CONFIRMED news of Citys firm bid this morning being received by WHU!

      1. Jonfox- In that case, all Arsenal need to do is pay the £100 mill or match the Citizens bid.

  4. Partey’s exit is down to Partey himself. It’s his decision to leave Arsenal due to some reasons mist of us are aware of.

  5. Souness fails to recognise that Rice is first and foremost a defensive midfielder having evolved as a centre back in the early part of his career.He is not a creative midfielder who can disect defences with astute passing, but then neither can Rodri of Man City who I regard as the best DM in the EPL.Souness was a fine central midfielder with great passing ability, but he lacked pace and would not have lasted long in the “soft” game of today where any meaningful tackle becomes a bookable offence.In essence he would have incurred numerous red cards during the course of a season, unless, miraculously, he could have adapted and calmed down.The point he makes concerning Rice may be valid and certainly I would not consider paying more than 70m for a DM particularly when we already have a class act like Partey available and back up in the form of Jorjinho and possibly Ben White who has all the attributes of Rice apart from his energy.Caicedo to me would be a better long term investment as he has the versatility to cover every midfield box.

    1. Spot on Grandad.
      Unfortunately Caicedos price has been inflated too.We should keep Patey and Xhaka for one more Season.To me they did well last season bar the tiredness at the tail end of it.
      I like the idea of B.white as cover for Patey.Zinchenko,Kai &ESR can cover both Xhaka and Odegaard effectively. We also have Jorgino. Therefore no need to panick buy this overpriced players,let’s get another option like R.Lavia for squad depth.

  6. Someone should tell Souness that we’re buying Rice for the qualities he has not the ones he doesn’t have.MA wants him exactly for the qualities Souness stated(sniffing danger,breaking up playing, mobility, physicality…if he can come up with few goals that’ll be a bonus,as for the cute passes we already have the players for that.

  7. Declan Rice is coveted for his defensive attributes. Anything more, he will learn under Mikel Arteta. If Arsenal don’t buy someone, it’s disaster. If Arsenal buy someone, it’s disaster. Same with Kai Havertz now. Arsenal is equally hated like Donald Trump. The world is filled with idiotic ‘listen to the media’ slaves.

  8. Souness! Great human being, courageous, honest, combative, mature and many other good qualities.
    NONE OF THEM, however gives him any reason to have a wiser opinion than any other football pundit of equal experience.
    He is entitled to his view, though he is just one person, however well known a one.
    My view is that simply being well known and being a good person DOES NOT NECESSARILY mean you have more wisdom than any other, unknown person.

    My opinion is very different from his – and I THINK RICE WOULD IMPROVE OUR TEAM MASSIVELY- though I too am just one person.

    MORE IMPORTANTLY STILL IS THAT THIS MORNING CITY HAS MADE A FIRM BID FOR RICE, which may well render our own opinions of Rice helping our club, of complete irrelevance!!


    JA is very slow off the mark when ACTUAL NEWS BREAKS , it seems.

    1. How I wish City’s bid is accepted and they sign him! I don’t think AFC will loose anything not getting Rice. There are better and cheaper CDMs out there. Rice is massively overrated! AFC should walk away now!

  10. Rice is not wanted for his final third action he is wanted for his defensive nous with his pure power and his intercepting being top-notch. He began his career at CB and is now one of the best defensive mids in the league and is homegrown which is an area that we need bulking up. We attacked admirably last season scoring many, it is in defense that needs more than what we offered last season. Rice would be a great signing in my view

  11. I think we should walk away if Man City is now involved. To pay north of £90m for Rice plus, say, a 5 year contract over £200k a week is a huge risk.

    1. I hope we have other targets besides Rice. May be Rice is just a smoke grenade. JA and ESPN also reported Man U is interested. Both clubs will propose player+money deals.

  12. And still NO piece about the ACTUAL NEWS of Citys bid.

    A day off then today ,is it Ad PAT?

    1. Pat. Do you not have a deputy, possibly Martin, who can take charge in your absence? Hope all is well for you of course.

  13. Rice would be a good addition. He is still quite young and likely to continue improving if he maintains his fitness. Whether he is worth £100milion is, of course, debatable.
    Many would feel that Partey at his best is better but he is older and now seems more injury prone.

  14. Too many people here are way in the past.
    They have no clue of how football has changed in the last few years. Football is now about money and money and more money. 100m should not scare anybody nowadays. Either you are in the business or leave. And it will get worse.
    Pretending to sell MU for six billions tells you all.
    Wake up!!!

  15. Arteta should be technical enough in his decision for Rice. I don’t know Rice’s record in the final third as in how many assists and goals for all the games he has played in his carrier so far? Xakah’s position needs a player who is athletic, a dribbler, cute in killer passes and a goal scorer too. May be (Rice) as a defensive midfielder…….

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