Ferdinand praises Arsenal star who has ‘done the same’ as Real Madrid sensation in debut season

Jason Soutar
Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice during a match for England
Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice during a match for England

Declan Rice’s performances at Arsenal deserve the same recognition as Jude Bellingham has received in his first season at Real Madrid, says Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand.

Arsenal spent around £100million to sign Rice from West Ham United last summer.

He has been outstanding in the Gunners’ midfield this term, helping make Mikel Arteta’s side one of the best defensive sides in Europe.

It takes a lot to be regarded as a £100m bargain but Rice – who is our Premier League signing of the season – has done enough in his debut campaign at the Emirates to deserve that kind of recognition.

One player who has also been called a £100m bargain (by us) is Bellingham, who has been outstanding in his debut season playing for Real Madrid.

The England international has 22 goals and 10 assists in 38 appearances across all competitions after signing for Los Blancos from Borussia Dortmund last summer.

While he has been outstanding in the famous white of Madrid, so has Rice for Arsenal, and former England and Manchester United defender Ferdinand wants us to know it.

Arsenal fans ‘love’ Declan Rice – Rio Ferdinand

Speaking on his FIVE YouTube channel, Ferdinand says Rice has shaken off any qualms about his transfer fee to quickly become “a real integral part of that squad”.

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“It’s a huge amount of pressure to go with that (price-tag), and then to go and perform the way he has and he needed to go in there and kind of the way he plays, chest out, give me the ball, dominant figure, and again, we talked about Jude Bellingham buying into Real Madrid and then the players and the fans buying into him, on a lesser scale probably but they have done the same thing to Declan,” he said.

“The fans loved him immediately, the players you can see really have warmed to him as well and he is a real integral part of that squad.”

Arsenal transfer target Viktor Gyokeres open to leaving Sporting

Arsenal manager Arteta will hope to find a similarly successful signing in the upcoming summer transfer window.

The Gunners have been linked with several players in recent months as the Spaniard reportedly looks to find a midfield partner for Rice as well as a new striker.

Although the rumours have quietened down a bit, Sporting frontman Viktor Gyokeres is a player who has been fiercely linked with a transfer to the Emirates.

The Swedish international joined the Portuguese giants from Coventry City last summer and has provided a ridiculous 56 goal contributions (41 goals, 15 assists) in 47 appearances this campaign.

In a boost to Arsenal and other clubs looking at him, Gyokeres has left the door open for a summer transfer.

“Stay next season? It’s football, it’s normal, I can’t promise anything,” he told A Bola.

“I really like being here, but in football everything happens very fast and we have to adapt.

“I can’t make so many predictions, it’s difficult, there are still games this season, then we’ll see.

“[Ruben Amorim] is a very good coach, I like him.”

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