Mikel Arteta explains what new dimensions ‘lighthouse’ Declan Rice will bring to Arsenal

Declan Rice is Arsenal’s new ‘lighthouse’, with his aura and leadership giving the team a different dimension, says Mikel Arteta.

A season of huge progress ultimately ended in disappointment as the Gunners failed to win a trophy, most notably falling short in the Premier League title race behind Manchester City.

But Arsenal have shown plenty of ambition in the transfer window, spending over £200million on three blockbuster signings in Rice, forward Kai Havertz and defender Jurrien Timber.

Rice is the standout summer acquisition at the Emirates Stadium, and in the Premier League so far, and Gunners boss Arteta is delighted to finally get the man his team needs.

“I see him like a lighthouse – that he is willing to put light in others and improve others and make the team better and that is a huge quality,” Arteta said.

“For me, to be a midfielder you have to have that and he’s got it 100 per cent.

“The way he talks and presents himself, the ambition he has and the passion towards the game. That is exactly what we needed.

“It’s his leadership, his aura, the experience he already has in the league he is going to bring and the team to a different dimension I think.”

 

Arteta was speaking ahead of Arsenal’s pre-season matches in America, which sees them face Manchester United and Barcelona, while they take on an MLS All-Stars XI in their first Stateside outing on Thursday.

The signing of Rice was only announced last weekend but Arteta says the former West Ham man is already settling in well.

“I think you all know his leadership, his personality, the experience that he already has at 24,” the Gunners boss added.

“Very smooth (transition into the group). He’s already very close already with a few of the boys, he obviously knew a few of the boys from the England camp as well. He seems very happy.”

It appears Arsenal have done all their main business for the summer, although Arteta admitted you can never say never.

“Very pleased obviously as you can imagine,” Arteta said about Arsenal’s transfer business. “We signed the players that we wanted, we signed them early and they are starting to adapt to the team really fast.

“We have some time now to prepare and for them as well to gain the best chance to express themselves in the right way.

“To adapt obviously they need to experience a few days how it looks like (at) Arsenal.”

“Let’s see,” Arteta said when asked about any more signings this summer.

“It’s a lot of time still in the market and a lot of expectations are in some of our players as well, so we will have to see and how things develop in the next couple of weeks.

“We will be alert, there’s still time do things, there’s still time as well for exits obviously. I’m sure things will move.”