Rio Ferdinand reveals the ‘problem’ Declan Rice could face when he joins Arsenal.
Rio Ferdinand believes Declan Rice will be an excellent signing for Arsenal but has raised question marks over how he will adapt and whether he can handle the pressure of such a big price tag.
The West Ham skipper is set to be unveiled by the Gunners this week after the two clubs finally reached an agreement on a payment structure for the £105million deal, with the north Londoners set to pay the £100m fixed part of the fee in three instalments over the next 24 months.
Ferdinand is a massive fan of Rice, though says the demands placed on him at title contenders Arsenal will be completely different to anything he has experienced at West Ham, while he will also face a whole new level of scrutiny given the size of the fee.
Speaking on his FIVE YouTube show, Ferdinand explained: ‘Sometimes when you’re at a club, no disrespect, like West Ham – which is a fantastic club, close to my heart, where I came through – but I saw it [the step up] when I went to Leeds.
‘At the time we were trying to challenge and you go there and the group are a better standard of player and the environment is geared towards trying to win more than trying just to stay in the league. Not that West Ham are playing just to stay in the league now, it’s a bit different.
‘Declan Rice will have loved it at West Ham, what a way to sign off. But the difference is that he’s going to be joining a team that are going to be challenging for the league. All the big trophies that they’re in for they’re going to be trying to win those things, it’s not about just competing.
‘And I think that’s going to be a difference. What we need to see now is, can he step up that level? Can he go up to that level and the expectation now which is different, the demands on him which are different. More is going to be asked of him maybe in an Arsenal shirt than what he was doing at West Ham.
‘Different things, the standard of his play. He can’t have any days off – not that he did before but it’s just that it’s highlighted a lot more, you’re under scrutiny a lot more, you’re in the spotlight a lot more, every week.
‘Everywhere you go they want to beat you. It’s very different at the club he’s leaving to how he’ll be looked at with Arsenal.
‘Those are the different elements that he’s going to have to adapt to and it’s going to be interesting to see how quickly he adapts. I’ve got no fear he will adapt to it, but it’s just how quick he can do it. Does he do it immediately and walk into the Arsenal team and have that immediate impact – which he’ll want, knowing him – or is it going to take time?
‘And the problem is, if you’re a £100million player plus, or a British transfer record – like I was once – you don’t get time. You’re not afforded a little bit of a bedding-in period. You’re not afforded that “Oh it’s a new team, new manager, new tactics, give him a bit of time”.
‘Listen, Declan will know as well, the knives and forks will be out waiting if things don’t go well immediately. So that’s a different pressure, he’s never had that pressure.
‘Those are the things that are going to be different for him that he’ll have to contend with, but I’ve got no doubt he’ll have an impact at that football club over the years and he’ll probably go on to be the captain of Arsenal at some point.’