Declan Rice has opened up about the pressure he felt after Arsenal secured his services from West Ham for a whopping fee of £105m, making him the club’s record signing.
The England midfielder confessed to initial nervousness surrounding the substantial transfer sum but has since shifted his focus solely on his game.
Reflecting on the transfer, Rice expressed his initial apprehension due to the hefty price tag, acknowledging the natural human response to being acquired for such a staggering amount. He attributed the valuation to his performances at West Ham, understanding the weight that came with it.
Declan Rice admits pressure at Arsenal following club record transfer fee
Speaking with The Times before England’s Euro 2024 qualifier, Rice said: “When the transfer was going through, I was very nervous because of the price tag. But that was because of what I’d done at West Ham, what they valued me at. When I signed for Arsenal, I thought I just need to be Declan Rice, be myself, don’t be any different, everything will go smoothly.”
Despite the staggering price tag, Rice emphasised focusing solely on his game and maintaining his identity. His initial weeks at Arsenal were challenging, adapting to a new environment, but he now feels settled, prioritising his performances over the transfer fee.
“In terms of the price tag, I don’t really think about it, I just play the games and try to play as well as possible,” Rice noted.
Acknowledging the pressure associated with such a substantial fee, Rice is determined to prove his worth promptly and repay Arsenal’s investment in him.
“I want to repay the club back straight away… there’s an expectation of being bought for that much money. I need to prove why I can go there and change things,” he stated.
Understanding the challenges of acclimatising to such a significant move, Rice drew parallels with Jack Grealish’s experience and highlighted the mental aspects that players face when dealing with the weight of high price tags.
“It’s £100 million, it’s a lot of money… I can see why Jack struggled maybe at the start — mentally. He was a £100 million footballer but as he wasn’t playing as much, it was probably a bit different for him. Now he’s flying and it’s the same for me.”