'My price tag made me nervous' admits Arsenal summer signing
The England international was the subject of a transfer tug-of-war between Manchester City and Arsenal, and the Gunners won the battle when a €116.6m (£105m) bid was accepted by West Ham United.
Rice, 24, has settled into life at the Emirates Stadium in fantastic fashion, starting every game in both the Premier League and the Champions League.
He has also scored twice for his new club - a late winner against Manchester United and the first of their two goals as they came back to draw 2-2 versus Chelsea.
However, the midfielder has admitted that he was nervous upon arriving at Arsenal due to his transfer fee.
What has been said?
While on international duty with England, Rice admitted in an interview with The Telegraph: “When the transfer was going through I was very nervous because of the price tag. “It’s natural to think about that. You’re a human being bought for £105 million, it doesn’t feel very normal!
“But that was because of what I’d done at West Ham, what they valued me at. 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.”
"DECLAN RICE, A GUNNER FOR LIFE"
Unbelievable scenes as Declan Rice SURELY gets the winner?! 🔴 pic.twitter.com/Uu9MfS8qkA
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 3, 2023
Rice isn’t the only England star to have moved clubs for over £100m, with Jack Grealish also revealing that his price tag caused several issues when he joined Manchester City.
That feeling is something that Rice understands. “It’s £100 million, it’s a lot of money, I could understand the pressure that comes with it,” he admitted. “Not only the pressure you put on yourself but there’s an expectation of being bought for that much money.
“People need to see performances straight away. I want to re-pay the club straight away, they have invested a lot of money in me, I need to prove why I can go there and change things. I can see why Jack struggled maybe at the start – mentally.
“He was a £100 million footballer but as he wasn’t playing as much, it was probably a bit different for him. Now he’s flying and it’s the same for me.”
Rice’s England face North Macedonia on Monday evening as they look to end their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign unbeaten. The Three Lions have already qualified for the tournament as Group C winners, having won six of their seven matches so far, drawing one.