Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Here we go …

Morning folks.

It feels like the next few days will be pivotal in the race to sign Declan Rice. Last night, David Ornstein reported that Man City had made a formal bid for the West Ham captain.

I guess it’s quite funny that City, with their endless wealth, have made a bid that totals £90m – the same amount that Arsenal had rejected last week. I imagine their structure was much different though, with a much bigger proportion up front and fewer scheduled payments. So far, we haven’t heard anything from the West Ham end, so perhaps City’s £90m is less insulting than Arsenal’s.

Nevertheless, the fact that it’s an official bid means we’ve pulled on the gloves and it’s time to scrap it out now. This is a player that Mikel Arteta desperately wants, and so much of Arsenal’s recruitment plan this summer centres around him. I do wonder how he feels about his great mate Pep, who could literally get any player he wanted, pursuing his main target. It’s a transfer double-whammy if it doesn’t happen for us. City get better, and months of work at our end is scuppered. All’s fair in love and war and football, perhaps? It’s all in the game, yo. I bet he’s just a little bit peeved though.

But look, as I’ve said often: why wouldn’t Man City want Declan Rice? And, why wouldn’t Declan Rice want Man City, or at least be very tempted? You don’t need me to lay out the reasons, mostly it’s just common sense that one of the most successful teams in history (even with the asterisks) is an attractive destination for the top players. Let’s also not be blind to the fact that City’s wage structure – if such a thing exists – is to pay their players extremely well. They have the ability to make that side of things very, very tempting.

Again, this is no news to Arsenal. There will no alarms and no surprises as Arteta and Edu contemplate this latest development. So now what? Another bid, I imagine. Find agreement with West Ham, and City will find agreement with West Ham, and then it comes down to what the player himself wants.

Tenterhooks.

I really think Arteta can make a compelling case to Declan Rice about what his career at Arsenal could be. From personal development, to potential success, a leadership role, and all the rest. We are a team on the up, no question, and from what we understand Rice has already been made aware of this and is open to joining.

What City can offer is pretty much guaranteed success, the chance to work with the most singular (and weird) coach in the game, and a lot more money. While Rice could win the Premier League with Arsenal if we continue on this trajectory, City have won five of the last six, and chances are they’ll steamroller their way to quite a few more before he hits retirement age. Not to mention they’ve now broken their European duck, and maybe the shackles are off there too.

I don’t want this to sound negative, but this is just the reality of what we’re competing against. City are machine-like on the pitch, and even more so off it. When they want something or someone, they usually get it. I can’t think of too many transfer deals they’ve been involved in which didn’t go the way they want. Even when it doesn’t, like Marc Cucurella choosing Chelsea, it’s because they were in control and walked away (with hindsight a very good decision based on the price/value of that player).

Assuming Arsenal go back, it’s coming down to a straight shoot-out. Arsenal v Man City. Arteta v Guardiola. But ultimately, the man who will pull the trigger is Declan Rice, so let’s see what happens. I think things will accelerate from here, so hold onto your metaphorical hats, and let’s hope we’re not left with bruises that won’t heal.

Beyond that, there’s more chat about Jurrien Timber, and James has a really good video over on his YouTube channel (please subscribe!) about how transfers work, particularly interesting – in light of City’s ‘formal bid’ – around the dialogue between clubs.

For now, I’ll leave you with an Arsecast Extra, recorded yesterday, covering all the important stuff about Rice, transfers, and the fiery destruction of the very Internet itself.

Enjoy.

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