How Kai Havertz secured Arsenal cult-hero status as 'scary' Declan Rice prediction made

Kai Havertz and David Raya among the signings rated by after successful Arsenal summer
-Credit: (Image: Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Arsenal had the biggest summer in their history in 2023 and added four players with the aim of making the difference between second and first. Whilst the Gunners achieved a record number of Premier League wins and goals in addition to conceding fewer than they did in the previous season they were pipped to the title by just two points by Manchester City.

The £200million-plus that was spent by Mikel Arteta and Edu was done with the idea of upgrading players in the starting XI and all bar one, who got injured, managed to establish themselves in the first team. The future of the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Thomas Partey and Aaron Ramsdale have been uprooted as a result, further evidence of their success.

With that in mind, has given their ratings of the four players’ performances across the season. In short, the three who were able to play did very well and should give supporters plenty of encouragement for this summer’s business.

Jurrien Timber – n/a

The biggest frustration is of course the fact that on the opening day of the Premier League season, Jurrien Timber went down with an ACL injury which ended his season before it had even got going. He returned on the final day of the campaign to help the Gunners earn a win over Everton but just missed out on the league.

He told after the game of his excitement to just be back out on the field. It is impossible to provide a rating for the Dutch international but he has certainly built up quite the hype around him despite barely kicking a ball as expectation grows for the next season.

David Raya – 7

Stepping into the shoes of a fans' favourite is tough, but taking the gloves of Aaron Ramsdale is a different thing entirely as the then-newly renewed goalkeeper had effectively professed his love for the club in his contract announcement video. The decision was not one the England stopper nor fans expected and at first, it seemed like a questionable one.

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However, despite some shaky moments, Raya has gradually vindicated Arteta’s decision to bring him in. What we have seen has convinced most that he is an upgrade, if ever so slightly, on Ramsdale overall and suits the style of goalkeeper the manager clearly wants.

His penalty save against FC Porto will live long in the memory and his save at Wolves at a crucial time kept the Gunners in the hunt for the title. More is needed to fully win over fans with a permanent move only a matter of time it seems but he had a very solid campaign.

Kai Havertz – 8

Well, what a season Kai Havertz has had and much of it stems from the surprise and utter justification of the club to make this move. It baffled most fans and even I had my doubts at one time thinking this could be the sword that Arteta falls on for having so much faith in a project player when the club looked to need only players who could guarantee impact.

However, after a rough start, Havertz has been integral to this title race and scored in plenty of big games. Score in a North London Derby and you win over nearly everyone, get a man of the match award in it and you’ve locked in cult hero status.

Further goal contributions against Manchester United, Newcastle United, his former club Chelsea and the winner on the final day as well as big goals away at Brentford, Brighton and Luton Town have seen his stock rise to become one of the six contenders for player of the season – in fact he did so well it has made the club rethink its summer strategy for the centre-forward position.

Declan Rice – 9

As sure a bet of a signing as you will ever see. £105million? Absolute bargain.

Declan Rice was signed for half price is the chant the Arsenal fans sing and who can blame them? The England international, who has since worn the armband for his country, was brought in to be the perfect midfielder but he has done even more than that with late goals becoming a brilliant staple of his game and dramatic long-range strikes against Chelsea and his former side West Ham put a cherry on top of the cake.

Potentially already in the bracket for best-ever signings in the Emirates Stadium era, Rice has cemented himself as a world-class figure in this Arsenal side. The scary thing is that he’s only just begun.