Arsenal already have a squad clearly capable of winning the Premier League. As they enter their final ten games of the season, they sit eight points clear of their nearest rivals, as Mikel Arteta closes in on his ultimate prize.
The Spaniard is owed a lot of praise for his work in forging this outfit, taking no prisoners as he uprooted experienced members of the squad and replaced them with youth, all of whom seem hungry for success.
Whether they see it out or not, there is a need to keep evolving in this game where it has arguably never been more difficult to win the elite honours. Manchester City will forever spend to maintain a regular title charge, whilst Liverpool can never be discounted. Meanwhile, Manchester United and Chelsea are overseeing expensive rebuilds which could also see them return to the mix soon.
The Gunners cannot afford to stand still, especially when the core of their squad could soon require a refresh. With Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey aged 30 and 29 respectively, they are soon to be entering their twilight years.
Arteta needs a new set of enforcers to replace their ageing stalwarts, but they must retain that silky skillset that allows them to uphold their free-flowing philosophy.
With this criteria, it is no surprise to therefore see them once again linked with West Ham United captain Declan Rice.
How much is Declan Rice worth?
It was only late last week when journalist Simon Phillips suggested that the north London outfit led the race for the 24-year-old, as he told GIVEMESPORT: “A lot can happen in the next two months until the end of the season. That one could go either way, but Arsenal feel like they’re in the lead for that at the moment.”
The Times also reported back in January that they had made Rice their top summer target, despite the £80m fee demanded, as this actually represents something of a bargain compared to the British transfer record David Moyes threatened; this truly seems like a deal destined to happen.
Especially when it makes this much sense.
Partey is imperative for Arsenal, with his defensive work in the engine room key in protecting their back four. As such, he maintains 2.3 tackles and one interception per game, alongside an 87% pass accuracy. The Ghanaian also marries this with the occasional screamer, of which he has three this season, via Sofascore.
Now compared to Rice, it is clear why Arteta remains so keen. He also records 2.2 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per 90, yet brings that pass accuracy up to an impressive 89%. This is partnered with four goal contributions too, as per Sofascore.
Their similarities are striking, and his role in dictating the play for the Hammers has seen him branded a “midfield maestro” by journalist Josh Holland.
However, this compliment was blown out of the water by fellow writer Jai McIntosh, who simply wrote: “Imagine thinking Declan Rice isn’t world-class.”
This potential deal would further revolutionise a squad already bursting with talent, and make them even more dangerous on all fronts for many years to come. The fact that he is young and English helps the cause too, as he only adds to their impressive statistics as the youngest average squad in the league.