‘That needs addressing’ – Arsenal urged to rival Chelsea for key signing by pundit

Sky Sports pundit and former Arsenal ace Paul Merson has insisted that the Gunners should be looking at Chelsea transfer target Declan Rice.

The 21-year-old has established himself as a key figure for West Ham, impressing again so far this season having made 30 appearances for the Hammers.

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With seven caps for England to his name too, Rice looks as though he has a bright future ahead of him for club and country, and as per the Mirror, Chelsea are said to be interested in prising him away from their London rivals with Frank Lampard eyeing reinforcements this summer.

Given his age, potential and the quality already shown, Rice appears to tick all the right boxes given Lampard has given youth a chance this season, but Merson is clearly frustrated and baffled as to why Arsenal aren’t also interested as he believes they need a reliable holding midfielder still.

“Chelsea have been linked with him, but I don’t know why Arsenal aren’t looking at Declan Rice,” he wrote in his Sky Sports column.

“Arsenal are crying out for a holding midfield player. They don’t need a midfielder who’s going to be on the edge of the opposition box, they need a disciplined defensive midfielder, who is going to sit in front of the back four and organise the side; one who, when he gets the ball, gives it simple with 10-yard passes.

“It’s such a hard job and that’s why I can’t believe Arsenal aren’t going in for a player like Rice. There are players in the current team that are meant to do that job but they don’t have the discipline to do it, and that needs addressing.”

Time will tell if that’s something that Mikel Arteta agrees with ahead of the summer, and if he is convinced that Rice would be the ideal solution.

It’s difficult to disagree though, as if Arsenal were to add that solidity and simplicity in midfield to provide protection for the defence, it could give them a solid foundation on which their attacking stars can go out and win games with their quality.

Rice has those necessary characteristics and already has Premier League experience to slot straight in and do a job. However, it remains to be seen if Arteta sees him as a key solution ahead of next season and if they can fend off Chelsea to get him if he can indeed be prised away from West Ham.

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