Former West Ham striker Tony Cottee, in an exclusive interview, shared his insights on Declan Rice’s £105 million transfer to Arsenal, highlighting the unique qualities he believes Rice will bring to the North London club.
“Dec will bring defensive stability to Arsenal,” Cottee explained. “If he plays in the same role he played for West Ham, he will allow their talented attacking players to go forward knowing they have a sweeper behind them.”
Rice’s leadership qualities, which he demonstrated both at West Ham and for England, have been recognised by fans and pundits alike. When asked about the possibility of Rice wearing the captain’s armband for both Arsenal and England, Cottee was optimistic but cautious.
“I think he could potentially do both but with Martin Odegaard young at Arsenal and Harry Kane due to play for England until at least the 2026 World Cup, he will have to be patient with both roles,” he said.
Describing Rice’s playing style, Cottee distilled it into three words: commanding, clever, and driving. He explained, “He controls the midfield, which is so important … he plays his role to the maximum and at his pace. He is also good to watch when he surges forward with the ball.”
However, Cottee acknowledged that Rice’s departure represents a significant loss for West Ham. “They won’t, and I can’t see anyone filling the void! Dec went for £105m because he’s one of the best players in the world in his position. I don’t think whoever plays there will be as good as Dec in the immediate future.”
The former Hammer is confident about Rice’s adaptability and believes the midfielder will easily fit into Mikel Arteta’s system. “Good players adapt to any new systems and Dec will do this. He will enhance Arsenal because of the reasons given in my first answer,” Cottee stated.
In terms of Rice’s career progression, Cottee voiced his views, influenced in part by his own loyalty to West Ham. “I think Dec will play regular Champions League football at Arsenal although I’m not sure he’ll win lots of trophies – as I am a West Ham fan!” he joked with myself. “Playing in Europe every season though will make him a better player, help Arsenal and help England hopefully win something.”
The transfer of Declan Rice to Arsenal marks a new chapter for the player, and as Cottee’s insights suggest, it will be fascinating to see how this move shapes his career, Arsenal’s performance, and the future of the England te