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FootballDeclan Rice stands by decision to reject Man City for 'more exciting'...

Declan Rice stands by decision to reject Man City for ‘more exciting’ Arsenal move

Declan Rice stands by his decision to reject interest from Manchester City when joining Arsenal last year, claiming the Gunners have a “more exciting” project.

Rice was targeted by both City and Arsenal ahead of the 2023-24 season, with Pep Guardiola’s Premier League champions reportedly tabling a bid of around £90million to West Ham.

However, Rice ended up joining Arsenal for £105m and has spent his first season at the Emirates Stadium battling City for the title.

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Mikel Arteta’s men currently hold a one-point lead at the summit, but with City having an additional game to play, they know a perfect end to the season will seal a fourth successive crown.

Though Rice’s first campaign in north London may end without silverware, he has no regrets over his decision.

“This project seemed more exciting and that’s why I chose to come to Arsenal, because I believe we’re on to big things here,” The Athletic.

Had Rice made a different decision, he would likely have formed a fearsome partnership with Rodri at the base of Guardiola’s midfield.

Excluding penalty shoot-outs, Rodri has gone 70 games for both club and country without defeat, and the Spain international has been touted as a contender for the Premier League’s Player of the Season award – as has Rice.

Rice believes the two have very different styles but is in no doubt about Rodri’s status as the world’s top midfielder, saying: “We’re different players, I feel.

“With Rodri, he was born in Spain, he’s always been a natural number six. You can just tell by the way he plays that he’s worked under Pep for so long. He’s a lot more structured than I am.

“I’d say I’m a lot more off-the-cuff. Obviously, this season I’ve been more structured, but in terms of the way I play, I feel like… being free a little bit more.

“There are different things that we complement each other on — but no doubt, he’s the best in the world.”

Arsenal are in action first as the title race resumes on Saturday, welcoming Bournemouth to the Emirates for the early kick-off, with City hosting Wolves later that day.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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