Arsenal warned ‘£110m’ transfer would be crippling mistake with confirmed target a poor imitation of Man Utd ace

Arsenal chief Edu and manager Mikel Arteta

Arsenal have been told a confirmed target who’ll cost a new British transfer record has glaring deficiencies in two crucial parts of his game, and is also a poor imitation of a recent Man Utd signing.

The Gunners pushed hard to sign Moises Caicedo from Brighton last month, though Brighton refused to budge under any circumstance.

That led to a late move for Chelsea’s Jorginho who in turn, landed Enzo Fernandez from Benfica for a whopping £106.8m.

The move smashed the British transfer record previously held by Jack Grealish (£100m). However, per the Independent, the new mark could be in jeopardy as early as the summer.

The newspaper stressed Arsenal have made West Ham talisman Declan Rice their ‘priority’ midfield target at season’s end.

Chelsea too were namechecked, though how much money they’ll have to spend isn’t yet clear given they’ve already forked out well over half a billion since Todd Boehly took charge.

The Athletic previously reported West Ham have accepted internally Rice must go in the summer. He’s refused three separate contract offers and his value will never be higher than in the next transfer window given his contract status.

The Independent echoed those claims, stating it’s increasingly certain’ Rice will move on.

However, writing in his column for the Daily Mail, pundit Graeme Souness has warned any and all suitors for Rice they could be making a crippling mistake.

Rice falls short in two of three key areas – Souness

Firstly, Souness stressed that given Fernandez’s £106.8m move, Rice must now be worth £110m. His reasoning stemmed from the face Rice comes with the added guarantee of being Premier League proven.

However, Souness picked two major holes in Rice’s game, stating the 24-year-old both doesn’t score enough or create enough chances to be considered an all-around world class midfielder. The statistics, for what they’re worth, back up the Scot’s claim.

“This [midfield] role is a vital part of any team because in an ideal world, it’s multi-dimensional,” wrote Souness.

“You are creative, you chip in with goals and you’ve got a defensive head at all times.

“Even when you’re on the front foot, you are thinking: ‘We are vulnerable if we lose possession.’ If you’ve got all three of those attributes, you’re worth your weight in gold. For me, Rice has just one of them.”

“Judge him on the defensive aspect alone and you would have to say he’s the best in the country in that position. He’s mobile and athletic. He covers the ground very easily and snuffs out a lot of the danger before it becomes a big problem for West Ham.

“It’s when you comes to the other two important parts of being a central midfield player that I do think Rice is a bit short. Factor those in and I would have to say he’s not the best in that position.

“He doesn’t score enough goals and he’s not terribly creative. He influences games by preventing West Ham conceding, not because of the creative pictures he has in his head as he plays.

“His numbers – seven goals and ten assists in 188 Premier League games – tells us a lot.”

Man Utd ace puts Rice to shame

Souness concluded by comparing Rice unfavourably to Man Utd superstar Casemiro.

The pundit previously described the Brazilian as nothing more than a “steady eddie” and “not a great player”. However, in lieu of his sensational displays this term, Souness has seemingly performed a dramatic U-turn.

“Rice brings this defensive aspect though for me, Casemiro at Manchester United is currently the best central midfielder around because he defends, chips in with goals and has the smart pass.

“Roy Keane and Manchester City’s Fernandinho were the best I’ve seen in the Premier League of that type. I’m now seeing Casemiro operating at this level.”

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