The highly anticipated transfer of midfielder Declan Rice from West Ham United to Arsenal has been finalized for a British record transfer fee of £105 million.
After spending a decade at West Ham, Rice bids farewell to the club and prepares to embark on a new chapter of his career at Arsenal.
In an official announcement, West Ham confirmed Rice’s departure, acknowledging his significant contributions to the team. Following the club’s statement, Rice himself in a statement expressed his gratitude and reflected on his time at West Ham. He thanked everyone involved in his development and acknowledged the difficulty of the decision to leave.
The move to Arsenal marks a significant milestone for Rice, as he will be playing for a Premier League club other than West Ham for the first time in his career.
The 24-year-old midfielder admitted that the decision was not an easy one, but he emphasized his ambition to compete at the highest level of the game.
Rice also urged West Ham to respect his choice to join a bigger club and expressed his commitment to giving his all for Arsenal.
“I want you to know how tough a decision it has been for me to leave an environment that I have loved and cherished so much. Ultimately, though, it has only ever been about my ambition to play at the very highest level of the game.”
READ MORE: West Ham announce Declan Rice’s departure.
Addressing the impending clash between Arsenal and West Ham, Rice acknowledged that it would be an unusual experience to face his former teammates. While he couldn’t predict his exact emotions, he assured both West Ham and Arsenal fans that he would approach the match with utmost professionalism and give 100% effort on the field.
“Playing on the opposite team to West Ham for the first time will be an unusual experience. I’m not sure yet exactly how I will feel, but I also know you will all understand and respect that my professional loyalties have to now lie with my new Club. I will always give 100% every single time I pull on the shirt – because that is how I have been brought up at West Ham, and I’m sure you wouldn’t expect anything else.
“However, that does not mean my love and respect for you all has been diminished in any way. This Club and its supporters will always be in my heart, and forever a part of who I am. What we shared together in Prague last month, and in the celebrations that followed at Upton Park and Stratford the next day, will never, ever be forgotten. The first major trophy of my career is something that means so, so much to me.
“If there is one thing I have learned in my career so far, it’s that there are no guarantees in football. All you can do is work as hard as possible, try to be the best person you can be, and try to take the opportunities that present themselves. If you are lucky, you make some good memories along the way… and I have made so many at West Ham United,” Declan Rice said.
Declan Rice is now set to join his new teammates on Arsenal’s pre-season tour of the United States. The tour will include matches against MLS All-Stars, Manchester United, and Barcelona, providing Rice with an early opportunity to integrate into the Arsenal squad and make his mark.