Aaron Ramsdale reveals Declan Rice nickname and names Arsenal midfield solution to Partey issue

Declan Rice celebrates scoring a goal for Arsenal

Aaron Ramsdale has revealed the unlikely nickname given to Declan Rice by the Arsenal squad. Ahead of the 2023/24 season, the Gunners signed Rice from West Ham in a £105million fee and despite that transfer breaking the British record, it's fair to say he has proven his worth.

Rice has expertly marshalled Mikel Arteta's midfield this season but it has been his attacking contributions which have caught the eye. From 49 appearances in all competitions, Rice has scored seven goals and grabbed ten assists with even Arteta shocked by his impact.

"Yes [I am surprised]," he said after the win against Bournemouth where Rice picked up another goal and assist. "We thought that, that was going to be very related to the spaces he was going to occupy on the pitch. But then it's something else to do it in this league. He's done it. Credit to him.

"Even when we've changed him from position to position, it's not easy to adapt to that, so I think he deserves a lot of credit for that." Rice looks set to play a huge role in this weekend's clash against Manchester United with Erik ten Hag's side regularly leaving gaps in midfield that the 24-year-old will undoubtedly look to exploit.

A midfield three of Rice, Martin Odegaard and Thomas Partey has been unleashed by Arteta in recent weeks with the latter allowing Rice to roam further forward. Alternatively, Rice can also be used at the deepest point in midfield which has seen him given an interesting nickname, with Ramsdale also revealing who could replace him if he needs to move back.

Speaking to the Premier League's YouTube channel, Ramsdale said: "He [Rice] can play as a number eight or we can bring on a more attacking player like Fabio Vieira to play as a number eight and he can drop as a six, or we can bring Thomas Partey on if Jorginho is tired. He can run all day. Zinchenko calls him the horse.”

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The future of Partey continues to be uncertain with it seen as likely he departs this summer after an injury-ravaged season. However, the Ghana international has certainly proven to Arteta he could be worth keeping for another year with his recent displays.

If he is sold though, Ramsdale appears to believe that Vieira can step up into midfield with Rice pushed further back. The Gunners signing a new midfielder is likely, even if Partey doesn't depart with Newcastle's Bruno Guimaraes one target even though a deal could be complicated despite his £100million release clause.