Arsenal must swoop in for Chelsea transfer target Declan Rice, since they’re ‘crying for a holding midfielder’ says Paul Merson.
In his column for Sky Sports, Arsenal legend Paul Merson has suggested that the Gunners should look to beat London rivals Chelsea for the signing of West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice.
The Englishman has been on the radar of clubs since he started out playing in that makeshift role. Declan Rice, originally a centre-back, started playing as a holding midfielder in the 2016/17 season and hasn’t looked back since.
Rice became the first player since Michael Carrick to reach 50 appearances for the Hammers as a teenager. He also finished as the runner-up for the ‘Hammer of the Year’ award in 2018, given out to the best performer in the West Ham squad.
Constantly performing at such a high level was bound to attract some interest from clubs, specially in the Premier League with one of them being his youth team Chelsea.
The Blues have been linked to the 21-year-old since the start of the season and are interested in brining him back to Stamford Bridge despite having multiple players who can play in that exact role, including Jorginho and N’golo Kante.
In his Sky Sports column, Merson wrote, “Chelsea have been linked with him, but I don’t know why Arsenal aren’t looking at Declan Rice. Arsenal are crying out for a holding midfield player.
“They don’t need a midfielder who’s going to be on the edge of the opposition box, they need a disciplined defensive midfielder, who is going to sit in front of the back four and organise the side; one who, when he gets the ball, gives it simple with 10-yard passes.”
Arsenal have relied on the services of Granit Xhaka since 2016, but it’s fair to say the Swiss international has been far from his best form for more than 2 years now. To make up for the same, Arsenal signed Lucas Torreira in the summer of 2019, but the Uruguayan has blown hot and cold after having an amazing honeymoon period.
For Rice, anyone of Chelsea or Arsenal should be a good buffer move at the moment, specially if wants to grow as a player and then join a club which fights regularly for the biggest trophies.
Nonetheless, he Emirates cries for the assistance of a holding midfielder and someone like Rice has the potential to be a great addition. However, he won’t come cheap, and moreover, Arsenal would need to fight his boyhood club Chelsea for his signature.