So what’s the verdict? Was Declan Rice worth £105m for Arsenal?

In a move that raised eyebrows across the football world, Arsenal secured the signature of Declan Rice from West Ham United for a staggering £105 million. The transfer fee undoubtedly reflects the immense confidence Mikel Arteta and the Arsenal hierarchy have in Rice’s potential impact on the team. However, as fans and analysts alike dissect the decision, questions arise about whether Rice’s skills and attributes truly merit such a hefty investment.

Rice’s reputation as a super-fit “water carrier” is undeniable. His energy levels and pitch awareness have been his standout assets at West Ham, traits that have made him a reliable presence in midfield. Yet, critics argue that for the colossal sum spent, Arsenal should expect more than just a tireless ball-retriever. The intricacies and finesse seen in the likes of Thomas Partey or Rodri, who excel in their multifaceted roles, have left some wondering if Rice possesses the necessary versatility.

The dearth of mainstream media attention on Rice during discussions of premier midfielders is indicative of a prevailing sentiment. Pundits often turn to the likes of Xhaka, Ward-Prowse, Kante, and Paqueta when dissecting the midfield landscape. Even Fornals and Lanzini, Rice’s former West Ham teammates, have managed to gather more mentions in media discourse. This conspicuous absence from the limelight raises the question: is Rice truly nothing more than a diligent workhorse?

Critics suggest that Rice’s playing style, while effective, lacks the refinement and finesse required to dominate the midfield. Comparisons with Partey only serve to highlight the gap in qualities between the two players. However, supporters of the signing argue that perhaps Rice’s potential attributes have been overshadowed during his time at West Ham. The new environment and the guidance of Arteta might unearth dimensions to his game that were previously untapped.

Arteta’s apparent enthusiasm for Rice has driven the urgency behind the signing. It’s evident that the manager perceives something unique and transformative in Rice’s abilities. The hope is that, under Arteta’s tutelage, Rice can develop into the all-encompassing midfielder Arsenal desperately needs. The manager’s track record in developing young talent, coupled with his vision for the team, is a compelling reason for fans to retain optimism.

However, the conversation cannot ignore the reality that Rice’s current form might not warrant a £105 million valuation, but he is slowly bringing fans to believe he was worth every penny. His absence from the radar of top-tier pundits and the subdued recognition within the media landscape do pose valid concerns. The transfer fee could have been distributed across multiple acquisitions, bolstering different areas of the team. As the saying goes, “if you don’t spend big, you don’t win big.” But equally important is spending wisely on players whose attributes align with the team’s needs.

Ultimately, the verdict on whether Declan Rice was worth £105 million for Arsenal will unfold on the pitch. Arteta’s plan to elevate Rice’s game into a more comprehensive and influential force will be put to the test. The manager’s unwavering belief in Rice, coupled with the club’s strategic decision-making, will determine whether this transfer becomes a milestone in Arsenal’s resurgence or a missed opportunity.

One thing is certain is that the Arsenal fans are much more forgiving of Rice’s transfer fee than the 65m we paid for Kai Havertz, who is currently being severely criticised for his early performances for the Gunners, with all and sundry calling for the German to be dropped and Thomas Partey being reinstalled in the midfield alongside Rice after we have struggled to turn our dominance in our first few games into impressive wins. But the plaudits came in for Rice, especially in our dour win at Crystal Palsce where we had to defend deep after going a man down thanks to the very strange sending off of Tomiyasu.

Rice was forced into a more defensive role and Mikel Arteta was more than pleased with his performance. He told Skysports Speaking to Sky Sports about Rice’s performance after the game, Arsenal boss Arteta said: “I thought he was fantastic. He really dominated the game.”

“He bossed the midfield and dominated the game. He was very influential, both attacking and defending. Today he played a different position to last week because of what we expected from Palace and what we needed today, and I think he was really good.”

As the season progresses, the Arsenal faithful will closely watch Rice’s integration into the squad and his ability to prove his worth on the grand stage. If Rice can evolve from a diligent water carrier into a midfield maestro, as it looked against Palace, capable of not only disrupting opposition play but also orchestrating Arsenal’s attacks, the substantial investment might just be vindicated. The anticipation is palpable, and only time will unveil whether this gamble pays off for Arsenal and their £105 million man.

I personally believe he will only grow in dominance, and if he can remain injury-free, he can marshall our midfield and defence for many years into the future, and guide Arsenal to the trophies he craves so much.

Admin Pat

I wrote this article for a guest spot on the massive West Ham Fanzine Blowing Bubbles, in response to a review of Declan Rice’s impact since arriving at Arsenal.

Tags Blowing Bubbles Fanzine Declan Rice West Ham


  1. Attacking wise, not yet. Based on my observations, Partey/ Jorginho had made riskier turns, moves and passes in tight spaces, whereas Rice tended to play safe in those areas

    He was very good at defending though. I liked his interceptions, timely tackles, pace, anticipation and aerial ability

    He can also become Arsenal’s main icon for their advertising campaigns. He is a London boy with good attitude, tall, a leader, hardworking, photogenic and England’s main DM

    £105m is a decent price for our future icon, captain, coach or manager

  2. He’s been one of our best players in every game so far – can’t do much more than that! For that amount of money, it’s hard to see it as a “good” deal, but if he keeps playing like this, no one will care – that’s the best we could have hoped for, realistically.

  3. Of course he’s not worth that but that’s the crazy football revenue nowadays. Clubs can easily throw a 60-80 transfer million on a player whom they’ll let leave for free 4 years later. Even Aston Villa bought a player for 50 million!

    That being said he’s been our best this summers signing although thats quite easy to achieve with Timber and Raya not enough matches under their belt and Havertz being, well the exactly same Havertz he was for Chelsea for 3 years.

  4. It’s really too early to make these type of judgements. Rice has had a decent start with Arsenal as part of the midfield three, and even scored a match saving goal in his last game, so the signs are there that he’ll be good value, even at £105ml.

  5. Based on the first 4 games, Declan Rice is worth much more. His undoubted talent mixed with his unshakable presence already made him a fan favourite. His English vigour has complemented Odegaard’s Viking attitude perfectly.

  6. A pundit recently said the former West Ham man could have his own statue at the Emirates by Christmas, going after his sheer performance in an Arsenal shirt.
    Though that may just be pushing the envelope a little, a strongly think Rice Baby is the signing of the summer.

    One think Declan Rice excels in, is his timely interception, am yet to see a single player on planet earth this season
    demonstrate this skill better.

    1. It’s probably the main reason why he manages to avoid so many of the injuries that other more physical players lose game time over.

    2. Statue by December? He won a trophy for West Ham but hasn’t come close to achieving anything here.
      Anyway, if he keeps performing like this consistently for years to come, be will definitely have his statue in front of the stadium someday

      1. Certainly not by Christmas, the conversation maybe a little premature, but the fact we are having it speak volumes about expectations of Declan Rice abilities.

        If the England captain helps Arsenal to lift a major trophy in the current campaign it will only add to the heated debate.

        Guided by recent history, Merseyside will be a tough encounter, Rice has to show his class against this physical out fit that over run our midfield, It is the same Everton that gave Jorginho a debut to forget while leaving Captain Odegaard embarrass on his boxside.

        Rice inclusion is the only difference this time around, he must shows his class here and endear himself to the faithful to keep that conversation of the statue going.

      2. Sanity from Andrew Elder. If Rice hadn’t been in the team and we had had to rely solly on Partey and Jorghinio would we still have 11 points?

    3. Gunsmoke, I question who this supposed pundit IS!

      IF he exists at al!

      I cannot imagine any serious pundit saying such a daft thing – UNLESS in obvious jocular manner, which you have not have mentioned – for fear of mass ridicule and his punditry career being damaged.

      CARE TO TELL US ALL WHO HE IS THEN ? Because I personally do not believe he exists, except in your mind!

      IF you prove me wrong, I promise to apologise but somehow. I doubt you will answer this post in any meaningful way.

      For clarity, Rice has plainly been a superb addition, but to have “a statue by Christmas” he would have to personally break Dixie Deans scoring record OR have won us the treble by Christmas, which is impossible!

          1. Gunsmoke, so not a pundit at all then but raving Piers ,Morgan.
            When did he become a “pundit” to you then!

  7. Firstly PAT, huge congrats on a stonkingly detailed, well thought through and SUNSTANTIAL article. By far the best I can ever remember ryou writing.

    THIS is precisely the sort of well argued, rational piece I LONG to read reguarly on JA.
    As for your West Ham guest spot, surely, as this is YOUR site you can write in the SAME WAY on our own Arsenal ” guest spot”.

    Even though you are the host and not a guest..

    More please and well done my friend!

  8. How can anyone come to a conclusion that Rice is worth the £105m we paid for him after just 4 EPL matches? Personally I believe it is a lot of money for a DM – Transfermarkt currently value him at €90m or around £77m. I also feel that Chelsea overpaid for Caicedo, but that’s Chelsea!! He is currently valued at around £65m.

    Even moneybags Man City pulled out at £90m for Rice, probably their maximum valuation. Let’s wait, at least, until the end of this season before rushing to judgement. If the question was, has he strengthened our squad, the answer has to be yes.

  9. As Warren Buffett famously said: “Price is what you pay, value is what you get.
    Price refers to what you pay for an asset, while value reflects the intrinsic worth of the asset.”
    On this basis,I believe that Rice is worth the fee we paid for him.not only that but he could be at Arsenal for more than 5 years or we could still end up getting a decent fee for him if we decide to sell him.

    1. Warren Buffett made his multi-billions buying UNDERVALUED stocks and companies and holding them for the long term. Now a club like Brighton could be seen following the Buffett formula paying peanuts for players like Cucerella, MacAlister, Caicedo etc. and selling them on for huge profits. I believe they paid £4m for Caicedo!!!

      1. I didn’t know this was how he made his money!he must have had a lot of nerves and patience to play the long game.his multi-billions?

        1. Apparently Buffett is the largest single shareholder in both Coca Cola and American Express and has had a stake in these companies for decades – a patient man I would say. Coincidentally Amex sponsor the Seagulls!!

    1. Depends what you mean by good. If you mean as a player, then he is way better thn good.
      But if you mean his attempts to sing , then oh dear!

      Admittedly I have a natural advantage but I have never understood why so MANY players are completely out of their depth when trying even the most basic melody.
      They easily hear the refs whistle, when it suits them, but so many cannot hear the correct note, even in their head when attepting to “sing”!
      But hey, horses for courses, I SUPPOSE!

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