Tim Sherwood feels Declan Rice is “next in line” from Casemiro and Rodri, and he thinks a move to Arsenal would be “perfect” for the star.
Rice quickly became one of West Ham’s most influential assets after being introduced to the first team properly in the 2017/18 season. He played 26 times that campaign and showed a real maturity despite his age.
It did not take long for him to be recognised as one of the league’s best. His ascension to being a key player for the Hammers coincided with their rise up the league.
While they had a hiccup in 2019/20, they managed a 10th-placed finish the season prior, as well as finishing sixth and seventh the following two seasons.
By the end of the latter, Rice had been on the radar of some of the league’s biggest sides for some time. Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all seemed to have legitimate interest.
Arsenal have since joined the pursuit, and they might have already done enough to secure the services of the star. Mikel Arteta reportedly has ‘optimism’ that the midfielder will join.
That the Gunners have had a rapid rise to the upper echelons of the table helps matters.
They’re in the fight for the title this season, despite slipping up of late, and there’s no reason to suggest they couldn’t continue to fight for honours next term.
Rice ‘perfect’ for Arsenal
Former Tottenham boss Sherwood feels Rice is the perfect fit for Arsenal, as he can’t see him remaining with West Ham for another season.
“I would be surprised if he was still there [at West Ham] next season,” he said, quoted by the Express.
“I think it’s time to do the right thing by the player and you could say possibly the same thing with Harry Kane – they have been great servants to their clubs and it’s right for them to move on to progress their careers.
“He’s [Rice] been heavily linked with Arsenal and I think that would be a perfect move for him.
“I think he’d make a real difference. It looks like Granit Xhaka is going to move on with it being the end of his contract and Declan looks the perfect player to slot into that role and improve it.”
Indeed, Rice remaining at West Ham seems very unlikely, especially as his deal now has just a year left on it. Arsenal seems to be the most likely destination, with the transfer in the region of £100million potentially their only massive inbound if it is to happen, but maybe the only one required, given how well he’d fit in.
Rice in elite company
Sherwood also feels other than midfield stars at two of the Premier League’s biggest clubs, Rice is the best in his position in the country.
“For me, Declan can play in some of the best teams in the world as a number six. I see him in that Casemiro or Rodri role and I think behind those two players, he’s next in line,” Sherwood added.
As such, he’s ready for a move to a big side to continue that growth and potentially overtake those stars.