As the next football season draws closer, Arsenal has been cautioned about spending excessively on Declan Rice, the West Ham captain. Manager Mikel Arteta is keen on fortifying his team to meet the escalating competition expected in the 2023/24 season. Despite not initially being considered serious contenders this year, Arsenal now needs to capitalize on their current status to remain competitive.
The upcoming season presents a stiff challenge, with at least seven clubs vying for four top spots. Newcastle and Manchester United are poised to secure their positions alongside Arsenal and Manchester City.
Meanwhile, Tottenham, Chelsea, and Liverpool are also expected to be formidable opponents, indicating a fierce battle ahead. Thus, strategic player acquisition is crucial to gaining an advantage.
In recent seasons, Arsenal has experienced success from trusting young talents, demonstrating the efficacy of long-term player development. This summer presents an opportunity for the club to tap into a larger talent pool.
Declan Rice has emerged as a key target, especially given the need for bolstering Arsenal’s midfield. Their recent title run exposed this weakness, with young Fabio Vieira contributing little to the squad and Granit Xhaka, despite being only 30, is among the older players.
Rice’s impressive performance is attracting interest from several Premier League and European clubs, likely driving up his transfer price. Considering West Ham’s likelihood of evading relegation, Rice’s price could be steep. Formerly valued at £100 million ($125.3 million) by David Moyes, ex-Liverpool midfielder Didi Hamann suggests this could overstretch both Liverpool and Arsenal’s budgets.
Liverpool’s expected summer expenditure is nearly £250 million ($313.3 million). Investing half of this on Rice, factoring in his wages, could limit the club’s ability to strengthen other areas. Hamann appreciates Rice’s skills but acknowledges £100 million as a significant sum.
Meanwhile, Arsenal has shown interest in Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton. Mac Allister, with his stellar performance this year, is predicted to command a transfer fee exceeding £60 million ($75.2 million), with Liverpool appearing to be the likely destination. This could provide Arsenal with an opportunity to pursue Rice, depending on Liverpool’s deal-making prowess.
Hamann notes that heavy spending on one player could limit the options for other potential recruits. He agrees with the sentiment that if Rice’s transfer fee surpasses £100 million, it might be unaffordable for clubs like Arsenal and Liverpool.
Unlike Liverpool, which needs substantial changes, Arsenal only needs to focus on specific positions. This might free up more funds for a potential Rice bid.
Despite West Ham’s lackluster season, Rice has continued to impress, particularly in the 2-1 Europa Conference League victory over AZ Alkmaar. This progression to the semi-finals earned them £8.8 million ($11 million), a figure that could rise to at least £11.8 million ($14.7 million) if they reach the final.
This further solidifies Rice’s high valuation and indicates a potential perfect farewell from the London Stadium. However, it also underscores the financial considerations Arsenal must weigh in their pursuit of the West Ham captain.