Mikel Arteta has praised the impact of midfielder Declan Rice, asserting that the £105 million investment in the English star has already proven to be money well spent.
Arsenal will reclaim top spot with a win against West Ham at the Emirates on Thursday. Arteta has commended Rice, stressing that there is “much more” to come from the talented midfielder.
Rice, who made a high-profile move from West Ham to Arsenal last summer, has played a pivotal role in the Gunners’ impressive run this season. With the team eyeing a return to the top of the Premier League, Arteta expressed confidence in Rice’s ability to handle the challenges that come with his record-breaking transfer.
Speaking ahead of the emotional clash against Rice’s former club, Arteta acknowledged the burden of expectations that accompany a hefty price tag. However, he commended Rice’s humility and eagerness to learn, noting that the midfielder has handled the pressure admirably.
“When they put the price-tag you have to carry that and it is not easy. He has done it in a brilliant way.
“He is a really humble guy and the way that he wants to learn and take positive criticism is really powerful. He has other levels to go. I love his presence on the pitch. He’s there and he’s got something special.”
Despite Rice’s already notable contributions, Arteta believes there is room for further development in his game. The Arsenal boss sees potential for Rice to add more goals to his repertoire and adapt to different roles on the pitch, highlighting the midfielder’s versatility and unique qualities.
Arteta reminisced about his own experiences facing Declan Rice on the pitch, expressing his desire to sign the English star. He praised Rice’s presence and recognised his potential to be an exceptional player in various positions.
“I felt it when I played against him, that’s why I was mad to sign him. You get a feeling about players and I wanted him to be part of our team. He is playing more as a deeper role in the last few weeks but playing as a No8 he can be an incredible player, he can be a centre back if he needs to step in if we need to.
“He has shown that he has an eye for goals when he is in the opponent’s box he is a real threat. That is something that can be developed, his leadership skill the way that he will naturally grow in the team and club in the years to come, there is much more from him.”