He is the only Arsenal player that I cherish at the moment because He is not afraid to take on defenders whenever He is with the ball,in my opinion He is better than De Bruyne and Maddison at the moment’: Tottenham captain Son says ONE Arsenal player is really a joy to watch in the league now – Not Ødegaard and Not Bukayo Saka
After nearly two decades of searching for a player to fill the void left by Patrick Vieira, Arsenal finally seems to have found a worthy successor in the form of summer signing Declan Rice. The former West Ham midfielder arrived at the Emirates Stadium for a record-breaking fee of £105 million, capping off an impressive eight-year tenure with West Ham that culminated in the club’s Europa Conference League triumph.
While the hefty price tag raised eyebrows initially, Rice’s undeniable talent and consistent performances both at the club and international levels, with 48 caps for the England national team, suggest that he may indeed justify the investment. Recent displays indicate that Rice has the potential to reach a level in midfield that Arsenal fans haven’t witnessed since their last title triumph two decades ago.
Throughout Arsene Wenger’s post-invincible era, Arsenal has seen a plethora of talented attacking central players, including the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, and current club captain Martin Odegaard. However, the club has long lacked a deep-lying box-to-box midfielder with the consistency and aggression needed to drive the team to a title.
Various players, such as Alexander Song, Abou Diaby, Francis Coquelin, Thomas Partey, and the recently departed Granit Xhaka, have been deployed in the holding midfield role. Still, none have been able to attain the influential status once held by the legendary Vieira. Before his departure in 2005, Vieira was widely regarded as one of the best midfielders globally and remains an all-time great in the Premier League era.
Arriving at Arsenal in 1996, just weeks before Arsene Wenger’s appointment, Vieira spent nine years at the club, amassing 279 Premier League appearances. He took over the captaincy from Tony Adams, led Arsenal to three league titles and four FA Cups, and spearheaded the first unbeaten team in a top-flight season since 1889. Declan Rice now shoulders the expectations of filling these significant shoes and guiding Arsenal back to the summit of English football.