ARSENAL’S £105million signing Declan Rice admitted he didn’t feel “normal” after the transfer to North London.
This has resurfaced the wise words Mikel Arteta gave to the midfielder about the added pressure Rice faced when he joined the Gunners.Declan Rice admitted he didn’t feel ‘normal’ when he first moved to Arsenal[/caption]
The England international’s transfer fee set a new record in the Premier League at the time – but it was soon eclipsed by Chelsea’s £115m singing for Moises Caicedo.
Being the most expensive British player, the ex-West Ham star revealed what it’s like to play with a huge price tag around your neck.
He said: “You’re a human being bought for £105m, it doesn’t feel very normal, when the transfer was going through I was very nervous because of the price tag.
“It’s natural to think about that… But that was because of what I’d done at West Ham, what they valued me at.
“So when I signed for Arsenal, I just thought I just need to be Declan Rice, be myself, don’t be any different, everything will go smoothly.
“The first three weeks of pre-season were really tough in terms of the change.
“When you’re at a new job you start to feel really settled after a few weeks.
“That really feels the case now. 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.”
Before he took to the main stage at the Emirates Arteta had some advice for Rice on how he will cope with the pressure.
He said: “In a really natural way. He’s a really intelligent person, I think he has the right experience.
“He’s an international player as well, and he needs to forget about the price tag.
“You cannot play to try and justify every ball the £100m that they pay for you.
“It doesn’t work like that. It has to come naturally, he needs to be himself, he’s an exceptional player and he needs to put that for the team in the best possible way.”
Rice has been impressive in his debut season with the Gunners, contributing two goals and two assists in 18 games – as the team currently sits third in the league.