New Arsenal signing Declan Rice has revealed how big a factor Mikel Arteta was in him deciding to join the Gunners over the likes of Manchester City and Bayern Munich.
A number of Europe’s top clubs were in the race for Rice this summer, but the former West Ham star opted to move to north London, with his £105 million switch finally confirmed on Saturday afternoon after the England international finalised his transfer.
And Rice, who has signed a five-year contract with Arsenal that includes the option of a further year, has now opened up on why he favoured Arsenal over a move to any of the other interested clubs.
“I’ve been looking at Arsenal over the last couple of seasons and the trajectory they’ve been going on,” he told Arsenal.com.
“With Mikel and how he works, the squad, how young everyone is, the energy around the club and also the challenge of getting Arsenal back to where they belong, that means a lot to me. I know the fans really want that.
“For me as a player, I’ve come here really hungry to have more success and to spend my best years at this great club.
“It’s been a bit overwhelming because of my relationship with West Ham. It’s been really hard to walk away. In football, amazing opportunities arise. Big clubs, like Arsenal, have come for me and it’s really hard to turn down.
“You only ever get one career and I really believe in what Mikel is building here and the squad he’s building.”
On the prospect of working with Arteta, the 24-year-old added: “I’m so excited – he speaks for himself.
“You see how he works – 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 the reason 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.”
Rice has been given the No.41 shirt at Arsenal and has been signed in time to travel with the rest of the squad on Sunday for their pre-season tour of the USA.
The Gunners will play three games in the States, against the MLS All-Stars, Manchester United and Barcelona.