Declan Rice excited by chance to help Arsenal ‘get back to the big time’

Declan Rice is aiming for Premier League and Champions League glory at Arsenal, insisting he will take his £105million price tag in his stride.

The England midfielder joined from London rivals West Ham earlier this month after the two clubs negotiated how the record payment for a British player in the Premier League would be broken down.

Now Rice is in the United States, having joined his new team-mates to prepare for the upcoming campaign, with the Gunners aiming to go one better than their second-placed finish last season.

Mikel Arteta’s side will also return to the top table of European football for the first time since 2017 and Rice is hungry for success, having lifted the Europa Conference League trophy in his final game as West Ham skipper.

“I think it’s time now. You know Arsenal under Mikel have won Community Shields, FA Cups, but I think now, this is a massive club, it’s constant pressure of delivering titles and it’s been such a long time now since Arsenal won the Premier League,” Rice told Sky Sports News.

“Last year was so close, I feel like we’re better off now this year, learning from that experience. I think that’s definitely a target and of course you’re in the Champions League, you go into the Champions League to win, you don’t go into (it) just to take part.

“There’s always a narrative around Arsenal that they’re not going to win the Premier League or they haven’t been good enough.

“But I didn’t see it in that way at all. I see it in a way that he (Arteta) has improved the squad every year. The players have improved individually. Everyone’s gone up another level and when I spoke to Mikel about the way he wanted me to play, where he sees me playing and the vision he has for Arsenal.

“For me it is really exciting now to be a part of this project that Arsenal can get back to the big time and win some trophies.”

Rice’s arrival at the Emirates Stadium has eclipsed Arsenal’s previous transfer record – the signing of Nicolas Pepe from Lille for £72m – and will see West Ham receive a guaranteed £100m, with a potential £5m in add-ons.

The 24-year-old believes it is unfair he will carry increased expectations because of his price tag but insists he will not be weighed down by it.

Rice is aiming for more silverware after winning the Europa Conference League at West Ham

Rice is aiming for more silverware after winning the Europa Conference League at West Ham. (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“I just try to take everything in my stride. I can’t control what I’ve been bought for, that’s obviously been determined on how well I’ve played consistently over the last couple years,” he added.

“West Ham have obviously set that price, I tried to take it all of my stride, I’ve not really thought about the price tag once. I’ve been brought to Arsenal for a reason and that is to perform, to play football. To try and add to the squad, to try and win trophies.

“I’m not going to get involved in price tags. Of course people have always got opinions, you can’t please everybody. Someone’s always got something to say, but what’s important is that the manager, you know you’ve got his support, you’ve got family support, people that are close to you, that’s all that matters.

“I won’t try to think about that too much and to be honest with you, I haven’t. It’s football. A lot of players have been bought for £80, £90, £100million. It’s our profession. It’s just down to us to perform. So over the six years (of his contract), hopefully I can repay that price tag.”

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