‘Warrior’ Rice urged to favour Arsenal over Chelsea as Petit discusses midfield transfer targets for Gunners
- Exit talk building at West Ham
- England star could be on the move
- Linked with Premier League giants
WHAT HAPPENED? The England international midfielder is seeing transfer speculation build again during a 2022-23 campaign in which West Ham are struggling to deliver on the 23-year-old’s ambition. A summer move could now be on the cards, potentially one involving a nine-figure fee, and Petit has advised Rice to shelve any plans regarding a retracing of steps to Stamford Bridge – where he previously spent time in a famed academy system – and instead make his way to Premier League title hopefuls at Emirates Stadium.
WHAT THEY SAID: Petit has told Compare.bet on why he would make Rice a top target for the Gunners: “He’s a leader, a warrior, he wants to win every game and has great desire. He has a great future in front of him and already has loads of experience at such a young age. He has to be very careful about his next club though. I know that Chelsea wants him, but if I were Declan Rice, I wouldn’t go to Chelsea, I would go to Arsenal. The two clubs are going in different directions with the way Arsenal is playing. If I was a player linked with Arsenal and Chelsea, I would choose Arsenal because the first thing I would look at it is ‘what’s the identity of the team?’ and you can see with [Mikel] Arteta it is very clear what the identity is, he has a really precise idea of what they are doing and they are all playing for him, which isn’t true of Chelsea at the moment.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Rice is one of several midfield stars that Arsenal have been linked with of late and Petit believes a raid on West Ham makes more sense than investing heavily in an Ecuador international at Brighton. The former Arsenal star added: “If I had the choice between [Moises] Caicedo and Rice, I would take Rice for sure, because he plays in the defensive midfielder role, which is what Arsenal need. He can play anywhere in the midfield but his best position is holding midfielder. He would be the perfect option for Arsenal. I really like Caicedo, he’s a really young talented player with energy and he shows motivation and ambition every time he plays, but I’m not sure he can play in that holding role because he’s used to playing a midfield two or three. Being a holding midfielder is different, you have to stay and guard the central defenders, to keep the balance of the team. You cannot just run everywhere, you have to be intelligent tactically. I’m not saying Caicedo isn’t intelligent, but he hasn’t got the experience playing in that position that Rice does.”
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WHAT NEXT? Arsenal remain keen to add greater depth to their squad in current and upcoming transfer windows as Arteta is aware of the need to boast quality cover and competition all over the field in order to remain in contention for major honours across multiple fronts at home and abroad.