Mikel Arteta has detailed how Arsenal landed Declan Rice as their record signing despite competition from Manchester City, and the impact he feels the 24-year-old can have on the team.
“We just explained our thoughts on him, the place we are building and what his role is going to be in the club. He and his family bought into that from day one and we’re delighted to have him.” the Arsenal manager said ahead of the Community Shield clash with City.
“The important thing now is that when we have a target we have the resources that we need to bring that player in but as well that we can convince him and what we tell him excites him, that he feels inspired and he wants to be part of it.
“That is the feeling we are getting with every player I want to sign but as well with the players we already have here are the ones that we really have to look after that they maintain that feeling and willingness to be here and drive the club to better every day and for them as players, improve every day as well.”
Rice arrived last month as Arsenal spent a record fee for a British player (£105million) after the club had parted ways with long-standing midfielder Granit Xhaka.
The Swiss international was a key member of the Arsenal dressing room in his seven years at the club, particularly under Arteta. Xhaka departed as one of the Spaniard’s on-pitch leaders, but Arteta does not feel like he is lacking in that department.
“His (Rice’s) leadership skills are unquestionable,” the 41-year-old added. “When you meet him and spend five minutes with him, you already get the feeling and impression that he will help so much.
“The dressing room and approach that we want to take in games and have the initiative in our way of living. Things take time and they have to be natural and if it (Rice joining the leadership group) has to happen it will happen.”
Rice was Arsenal’s third signing of the summer, with Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber joining from Chelsea and Ajax beforehand. Like Rice, both arrive in north London having won major honours, which Arteta hopes will push Arsenal even further after missing out on the title last season.
“That is helpful,” the Arsenal manager said. “They have come from important teams and brought those experiences. The three of them are really young but have already done a lot in the game and with international football as well, which is great.”
Inside Rice’s move to Arsenal: Arteta influence, long-term plan, no transfer request
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