Declan Rice explains why he joined Arsenal over Manchester City

  • Arsenal signed Declan Rice for record-breaking £105m fee last summer
  • Rice joined Arsenal over likes of Bayern Munich and Manchester City
  • Midfielder enticed by Gunners' project
Declan Rice has enjoyed an excellent debut season at Arsenal
Declan Rice has enjoyed an excellent debut season at Arsenal / Catherine Ivill - AMA/GettyImages

Arsenal's "more exciting" project convinced Declan Rice to join the club over Manchester City last summer, according to the man himself.

The Gunners identified Rice as their priority target ahead of the 2023/24 season, with it becoming clear that the midfielder would be leaving West Ham after leading them to Europa Conference League glory.

A summer transfer saga ensued with Arsenal forced to compete against the likes of Bayern Munich and City for his signature. The Gunners had a couple of bids rejected and faced the threat of City stealing him at the last, but they eventually agreed to a whopping £105m deal with the Hammers to bring Rice to north London.

The England international was immediately thrust into a role of significance, and Rice has enjoyed a superb debut season for the title hopefuls. He's featured in every Premier League and Champions league game this term, racking up a whopping 4,004 minutes across all competitions.

Declan Rice explains why he chose to join Arsenal over Manchester City

declan rice, Martin Odegaard, Jurrien Timber
Declan Rice disusses his on-pitch relationship with Martin Odegaard in an interview with The Athletic / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/GettyImages

In a superb piece with The Athletic, Rice goes into immense depth explaining his integration at Arsenal and roles within Mikel Arteta's framework.

The midfielder discusses pre-season struggles, the art of tackling, and the moment when he felt like he officially arrived at Arsenal. For any Gooner, it's a must-read. The detail included is fascinating.

At the end of the piece, Rice explains why he opted to join Arsenal despite interest from treble-winners Manchester City, led, of course, by Pep Guardiola.

“This project seemed more exciting and that’s why I chose to come to Arsenal, because I believe we’re on to big things here," the midfielder notes when the point of potentially playing alongside City midfielder Rodri was put to him.

Rice, who starred in both fixtures against the Cityzens this season but only faced Rodri at the Etihad, said he enjoys his battles with the Spaniard but feels that the two are "different players".

Declan Rice, Rodri
Rice and Rodri are among Europe's best midfielders / Michael Regan/GettyImages

“With Rodri, he was born in Spain, he’s always been a natural No 6. You can just tell by the way he plays that he’s worked under Pep (Guardiola) for so long. He’s a lot more structured than I am. I’d say I’m a lot more off-the-cuff. Obviously, this season I’ve been more structured. But in terms of the way I play, I feel like… being free a little bit more," the Arsenal star says.

While there were fatigue concerns amid Arsenal's torrid eight days in April which saw them exit the Champions League and lose at home to Aston Villa, Rice has bounced back impressively since. The midfielder has returned to his most dominant form despite a penalty giveaway in the North London Derby, and he'll continue to play a key role during the club's final three games as they chase their first Premier League title in 20 years.