Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has issued a warning about modern transfer fees after watching Arsenal sign Declan Rice and Real Madrid secure Jude Bellingham.

Los Blancos raided Borussia Dortmund to snap up Bellingham in an initial £88.5m transfer in June. The deal can make the 19-year-old the most expensive British player yet after add-ons taking the fee to £115m. But Rice now shares the record after signing for Arsenal this month.

Arsenal matched the £100m Manchester City paid Aston Villa to sign Jack Grealish in August 2021 to prise Rice away from West Ham United. The 24-year-old left London Stadium as the Irons’ captain for an initial £100m. But add-ons can take the midfielder’s move up to £105m.

Arsenal Unveil New Signing Declan Rice
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Why Pele Is Overrated.

Arsenal and Real Madrid’s transfers spark a warning from Rooney

Rooney was a record transfer during his playing career, as well, when the striker left Everton for Manchester United. The Red Devils signed the would-be England captain in August 2004 for around £30m. It made Rooney the most expensive teenager in world football at the time.

But the mega money transfers in football today alarms Rooney after seeing Arsenal and Real Madrid sign Rice and Bellingham. The DC United coach, speaking after he managed the MLS All-Stars against the Gunners, believes the sport is destined to suffer a ‘crash’ in the market.

“It’s crazy, isn’t it?” Rooney said, via quotes by the Mirror. “Yes, it’s mad. The money players are getting sold for now is crazy but I suppose that’s where the value is nowadays.

“I think someday it’s got to just crash because it can’t keep going that way. But that is what the value is and good luck to the two of them.”

Real Madrid unveil Jude Bellingham after transfer from Borussia Dortmund
Photo by Helios de la Rubia/Real Madrid via Getty Images

Rooney believes Rice and Bellingham are destined for the top

Rooney also voiced his praise for Rice and Bellingham whilst using their transfers to Arsenal and Real Madrid as a warning for football. The Manchester United legend believes both are destined for the top of the game and that Rice can be the leader in Mikel Arteta’s team now.

He added: “Bellingham is very good athletically and a box-to-box midfielder, more attacking. Declan Rice is a powerful lad when he drives the ball and also defensively and tactically he is very aware. So, they are two different players but both with a huge future.

“When you are a young player, you want to win trophies and they’ve gone where they believe they are going to win trophies. So, it’s an opportunity for them to really do that.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and MLS All-Stars coach Wayne Rooney in a pre-conference before the pre-season friendly
Photo by BASTIEN INZAURRALDE/AFP via Getty Images

“Especially Rice going in at Arsenal because he can be the one for them. For me he has to be the leader now for them, the leader of that Arsenal team.

“I saw Frank Lampard saying he felt Declan could be the Chelsea captain for the next 10 years if he went there and I think he can do that for Arsenal because he has that character and I believe he will be a huge player for Arsenal.”

Rice joined Arsenal on a five-year contract with the option for a sixth after 245 appearances for West Ham. He also took over their armband as Mark Noble’s vice-captain in 2020 before gaining the role full-time in 2022. He even lifted their first major trophy since 1980 in 2023.

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