Jamie Carragher: Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice is the most influential player in the Premier League

Jamie Carragher believes Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice is currently the most influential player in the Premier League.

The England international joined the Gunners from West Ham United in the summer for a club-record £105 million and has already hit the ground running.

Arsenal have been better with Rice in their midfield and they are top of the league table after 15 games due to his influence.

Carragher has been blown away with his performances, and the Sky Sports pundit says he would rather have the Gunners star in his team than Manchester City midfielder Rodri.

“From the moment he joined Arsenal, you knew that Rice would be brilliant,” he wrote in the Telegraph.

“He has been probably the most influential player in the Premier League this season and, every time I watch him, he reminds me of Keane. He has that same presence, and he has a passing ability that is incredibly underrated.

“When you think of the great midfielders of the past, they all had an aura on the pitch. Keane had it, and so did players like Graeme Souness and Bryan Robson. I see those same qualities in Rice, who could be the difference for Arsenal this season as they challenge for the title.

“There is no bigger compliment I can give to Rice than this: I would rather have him in my team than Rodri. The Manchester City midfielder has been arguably the best player in the treble-winning side, alongside Erling Haaland and Bernardo Silva, and he scored the winner in the Champions League final. He is a brilliant player, but I would still rather have Rice.”

The 24-year-old has weighed in with three goals and an assist in the Premier League so far this term, with the goals proving crucial as they helped Arsenal pick up seven goals against Manchester United, Chelsea and Luton Town.

The strength and agility he brings to the table have made the Gunners improve significantly, and the fans are already joking that West Ham deserve to be paid more for his excellent services so far.

Arsenal are looking to win their first Premier League title since 2004, and the acquisition of Rice will boost their chances of doing so this term.

They would have won the title last term had he been playing for them, and it is clear to see why Man City were desperate to pip the North Londoners to his signature in the summer.

Pep Guardiola’s side would have become invincible with Rice and Rodri in their midfield, and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was smart to convince the Englishman to join his side instead.

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