Jamie Carragher: Declan Rice could help decide the title race for Arsenal and be named Player of the Year afterwards

Jamie Carragher believes England international midfielder Declan Rice could help decide the title race for Arsenal and be named the Player of the Year afterwards.

The Gunners spent £105 million to bring the 25-year-old from West Ham United in the summer, and it has proven to be one of the best transfer decisions they have made in recent windows.

The likes of David Raya and Kai Havertz are finally proving themselves following early struggles in the Arsenal shirts, but Rice hit the ground running upon moving to North London and his huge influence could see the Gunners win their first Premier League title since 2004.

“It has taken no time to consider the £105 million Arsenal paid to West Ham in the same way as the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for Van Dijk,” Carragher wrote in The Telegraph.

“A bargain. Arsenal are five points worse off than this time last year, and yet they are a better side; more structurally sound and resilient. There is no expectation they will falter as they did at this point 12 months ago. Rice is the most significant reason for that, adding a steeliness to the team’s spine.

“He is not a holding midfielder. He is a complete midfielder. When Arsenal travel to the Etihad in a fortnight’s time, they will feel they have the equal of (Manchester) City’s Rodri capable of dominating the key midfield battleground.

“Should Arsenal do it (win the title), the signing of Rice will be regarded as one of the most important in the club’s history – the final piece of the jigsaw turning a team of potential into champions.”

The Gunners have been brilliant this term, with the likes of William Saliba, Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Magalhaes, Ben White and Jorginho all worth their weight in gold, but it is the influence of Rice in midfield which has made a huge difference.

He has featured in all 27 league games so far this term, with the French centre-back the only Arsenal player to have played more minutes.

Having such a key and reliable player available all the time speaks volumes, and the Gunners surely fancy their chances with him in the side.

Rice has not had a bad game this term, and the scary thing is that he is nowhere near his peak yet.

Arsenal finally have a real chance of going all the way and winning the title this term, and the midfielder could go down in history as the one who helped turn their fortunes around.

Subscribe for notification