Declan Rice gives Arsenal fans a tantalising glimpse of the future

I can’t remember many signings that have had me as excited as the addition of Declan Rice.

There have been some down the years. Bergkamp, Campbell, Ozil and Sanchez maybe. But this one is right up there. 

I’ve been desperately hoping Arsenal would be able to pull this piece of business off since word first started to filter through in January that Rice was the priority summer target.

I think he’s an exceptional player, someone who will come in and take this team to the next level.

I know there are plenty out there who believe Arsenal have overspent and I can understand that. To be honest, there will be a fair amount of people at the club who probably believe that themselves.

But sometimes you have to go to the limit to get what you really want and that’s what Arsenal have done.

They wanted Rice over everyone else and they’ve gone out and got him, splashing out £105 million and smashing their transfer record in the process.

It’s a monumental signing, one that just a couple of years ago would have felt impossible.

The fact Arsenal have been able to do it says so much about where they are right now as a club and the direction they are heading in under Mikel Arteta, Edu and the ownership.

Declan Rice is a monster of a midfielder. A player, who at just 24, is only going to get better and better.

He could have gone anywhere this summer and he picked Arsenal. Just think about how massive that is.

Manchester City and Pep Guardiola wanted him. But his head didn’t turn. It was all about Arsenal and the chance to work with Mikel Arteta.

Rice said that himself after completing his move.

“I’m so excited,” he said, when asked about the prospect of playing under Arteta. “You got a real insight into how he works on the Amazon documentary, how he works with his players and not only as a coach, but psychologically how good he is with players, how he improves players. 

“He’s a massive factor in why I’ve come here. I know he’s going to get the best out of me. 

“I know I’ve got more levels to go up in my game, and I feel like he’s the manager to take me to those next levels. I’m really excited to be working with him.”

Those words should be so exciting for Arsenal fans and they are a tantalising glimpse of what could be to come at the club over the next few years.

Declan Rice in his Arsenal shirt.

Top talent are looking at Arsenal now and wanting to be a part of it. They look at Arteta and see a manager they want to play for.

Arteta got widely mocked by fans from rival clubs for some of his coaching techniques which were shown on the Amazon documentary. 

But players clearly looked at it differently. They saw what was going on at Arsenal and were intrigued and we are now seeing the benefit of that.

Rice is at the very top of his game and he chose Arsenal. Other top level players will follow if the club continues on the same trajectory they are on.

That’s what this signing signals. That’s why it’s so exciting.

The fact Arsenal had the ambition to go after Rice was great to see. But the fact they managed to actually get him amid such strong competition was so important on so many levels.

It has sent a message to everyone that the club means business and are not willing to settle for second best.

When Arsenal did that in 2001 and brought Campbell in from Spurs it signalled the start of a new era.

This feels very similar.