Football NewsDeclan Rice New Nickname Days After Signing for Arsenal.
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Mikel Arteta has described Declan Rice as the “lighthouse” to guide Arsenal to the Premier League title.

Arteta is clearly buzzing about the club’s record £105m signing and what the England midfielder will bring to Arsenal’s midfield next season. The Gunners ran Manchester City close in the title race. However, they did need a midfield general and leader which is exactly what Arteta believes Rice will bring together with a physical presence.

Gunners boss Arteta was famous for his strange comparisons in the Amazon All Or Nothing documentary as he even used a lightbulb during one team talk as he urged his players to feed off the electricity. But Arteta’s lighthouse moment seems particularly fitting because Rice’s size makes him look like a beacon above everyone else on the pitch.

Arteta said: “First of all he is a person and what he is going to bring to the team. I see him like a lighthouse. He is willing to put light in others and improve others and make the team better. That is a huge quality”.

“For me to be a midfielder you have to have that and he’s got it 100%. The way he talks and presents himself and the ambition he has and the passion towards the game and that is exactly what we needed”.

“Its his leadership, his aura, the experience he already has in the league. He is going to bring the team to a different dimension I think. He has the physical qualities we were missing for a while as well. That is why we had to do what we had to do to get him. Rice was really important for us”.

“I think every transfer window we are trying to improve. Every season we are trying to develop our players to a level. When we don’t reach with that level we have to recruit. I think what we have done this summer improves the squad significantly.”

Arteta admitted signing Rice was a very long pursuit as they spend most of last season trying to get him. It was Arteta and sporting director Edu who sold Rice their vision and the England midfielder bought into their plan.

But Arteta said they knew Rice was the perfect fit a long time ago and that was why they beat off competition from Bayern Munich and Manchester City as the player’s mind was long since made up. He added: “It was a while ago. We were discussing how he could evolve the team and how he could compliment the players that we already have and give us more flexibility and quality and depth.

“We also need that winning hunger into the team with players who really want to push themselves to a different level. We have three new players who will be really important in that.”

Arteta has brought 29 players to the United States and they kick off the tour against the MLS All Stars in Washington on Wednesday night. It is clear that he feels this team can take the next step and start winning trophies. They have already added Rice and Kai Havertz plus Jurrien Timber in a £210m spending spree.

Arteta also did not rule out more signings but one thing was very clear in that the Arsenal boss is committed to reducing the average age of the squad even further as he loves the fearlessness of youth.

Rice is 24 while other new boys Jurrien Timber and Kai Havertz also have their careers in front of them. Some people claimed Arsenal needed more experience and leadership but Arteta is invested into youth.

Arteta added: “That is what we are doing. And that is where I want to build the club and they fit in the profile that we want to recruit. I think the club has done tremendously well. We have the support and the aim of the players to join the club and its great because it gives us time to prepare in the right way.”