Michael Owen has now explained what difference Declan Rice signing for Arsenal will have in the Gunners’ 2023/24 Premier League title race against rivals Manchester City.
The Emirates Stadium and Etihad Stadium sides are set to contest another tussle for the title this term. Manchester City denied Arsenal their first top-flight trophy in 19 years last season by five points. Pep Guardiola’s side also secured the title with three games left of their term.
Arsenal enjoyed 248 days atop the Premier League table in 2022/23 but could not maintain their campaign towards the end. Mikel Arteta only oversaw three wins in the Gunners’ final nine games. They also failed to hold on to take wins against Liverpool and West Ham United.
Arteta signed Rice in a mammoth transfer window for Arsenal
Arteta responded to Arsenal falling short in the Premier League title race by signing Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber. Stan Kroenke, Arsenal’s owner, sanctioned a mammoth spend in north London this summer. Arsenal even paid West Ham a new club-record sum to sign Rice.
The Irons held out until Arsenal guaranteed them an initial £100m, rising to £105m, for their captain. Rice became the Hammers’ full-time skipper after Mark Noble retired in May 2022. But the 24-year-old effectively had the armband since September 2020 as the vice-captain.
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What has Owen said about Rice and the Premier League title race?
Rice was West Ham’s talisman and Arteta will hope the 43-cap England international will be as influential after signing for Arsenal. He was essential for the Irons in all of the midfielder’s complete terms at London Stadium. Rice also played 204 of a possible 221 top-flight games.
Owen is confident that Rice’s importance at West Ham will transfer over to Arsenal and give Arteta a huge boost in the Premier League title race. So much so that he has now tipped the 6 ft 2 anchor to be the signing of the season over Andre Onana joining Manchester United.
“Declan Rice will make a huge impact and Andre Onana could be a brilliant signing for Man Utd,” Owen has told the official Premier League website. “I’m going to say Rice, though. He’s going to make a massive difference to Arsenal this season.”
Manchester United paid Inter Milan an initial £44m, rising to £47m with add-ons, in July for Onana. He has replaced David de Gea at Old Trafford, with Erik ten Hag letting the Spaniard leave as a free agent. Onana only spent a year at San Siro with 19 clean sheets in 41 games.