Declan Rice helps Mikel Arteta make perfect Arsenal midfield transfer call amid key challenge

Arsenal will look to complete their midfield in the transfer window this summer
-Credit: (Image: David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Declan Rice has been at Arsenal for a single season but stands out already as one of the most successful signings in recent memory. The £105million price tag is barely spoken about, which is an indication in itself that the move has been a good one – when you think about how often Nicolas Pepe’s fee is brought up in transfer chats it provides all the context you need.

However, what it has done is set an incredibly high bar for future deals and an expectation that Arsenal are now in the bracket of clubs able to spend these three-figure million-pound deals. understands however that a move for a player in the same price bracket this summer is unlikely barring a significant exodus of players generating a sizeable amount of incoming funds.

That said, the England international remains the fulcrum of the Arsenal midfield alongside Martin Odegaard. There is still a remaining space to fill which last season saw three players operate in the role: Thomas Partey, Kai Havertz and Jorginho.

Were Partey and Jorginho to play, Rice would tend to push forwards. Havertz’s inclusion however saw him drop to the number six position which many fans expected him to occupy throughout the season but Partey’s injury changed that.

Going into this summer window, Rice’s impressive form has opened the doors for Arteta and sporting director Edu to have greater freedom when it comes to making a decision on the midfield signing. Whereas before it looked like a box-to-box midfielder was the main focus, instead they can look at potential number sixes like Martin Zubimendi, Amadou Onana and to some degree Bruno Guimaraes.

However, they can also look at the likes of Guimaraes as an eight with Rice playing the six. Joao Neves and Youssouf Fofana too have been considered.

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The challenge remains finding the right player to take the position forwards. When you’re in a place where a title race is the expectation season on season, investments cannot be mistakes.

Although the likes of Manchester City can drop more than £40million on Kalvin Phillips which in retrospect looks like quite an expensive mistake, it hasn’t impacted them whatsoever. If Arsenal drop £40million-plus on a player and get it wrong the difference is major.

Fabio Vieira at £34million has looked like the biggest financial investment error under Arteta. Havertz threatened to take that crown but has won over the majority with his move into the forward line and his goals in key games throughout the season.

The same can be said for any position this summer, not just midfield. To close that consistently decreasing gap to Man City, the transfer strategy cannot miss and once again Edu and the ownership are under pressure to see it through.