“He’s looked imperious” – Pundit changes stance on big-money Arsenal summer signing 

Pundit Garth Crooks has admitted that he was wrong about Declan Rice being an expensive signing for Arsenal.

The Gunners signed Rice from West Ham United last summer for a club-record £105 million fee. He has certainly impressed so far for the north London outfit, playing a crucial role in Mikel Arteta’s side this season.

The central midfielder recently put on an excellent performance in his return to West Ham, scoring a screamer of a goal and providing two assists for Arsenal in their 6-0 victory.

Crooks lauded Rice’s campaign so far and said (via TBR Football):

“I thought the price tag of £105m for Rice was ludicrous. The fact that Arsenal actually paid it was quite astonishing. After all, those sums of money are normally reserved for strikers scoring 20 goals a season.”

“However, since the arrival of the former West Ham captain at the Emirates, he has looked imperious.”

He added:

“Long gone are the extravagancies of Granit Xhaka, in exchange for a far more acceptable and even-tempered Rice, who is a far better footballer anyway. The ball he provided for Gabriel to head home was a peach while his strike that put Arsenal 6-0 up was as good as they get.”

“What is plain to see is that Rice has grown as a player since his arrival at Arsenal. He’s certainly playing for a better side and with better players, but he has acquired a confidence and authority that comes with it.”

Rice has started all 24 of his side’s Premier League fixtures this season, registering four goals and as many assists.

“Real class” – Richard Keys praises Arsenal star Declan Rice after West Ham thrashing

Richard Keys has praised Declan Rice for his performance against the Hammers, highlighting the English midfielder’s impact on the game. The beIN Sports presenter wrote in his blog (as quoted by Football.london):

“I thought Rice had a thunderous impact on the game. He looked every inch the player that left West Ham and used to play like it every week in their colors.”

“Perhaps it was because he was back on familiar territory but Rice cajoled, hit probing passes and to some degree ran the game, in a way I haven’t seen him do often enough in an Arsenal jersey. His goal topped it all off.”

Rice, who helped West Ham win the Conference League before his summer move to Arsenal last year, did not celebrate his goal out of respect for his former club. Keys spoke highly of Rice for his muted reaction and added:

“Class, Dec. Real class. He was muted. Respectful. And classy.”

The Gunners are third in the Premier League table, level on points with second-placed Manchester City while Liverpool lead the standings by two points. The Cityzens, however, have a game in hand over their title race rivals.

Edited by Ritwik Kumar

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