Arsenal legend Ian Wright reveals he ‘tapped’ up Declan Rice during visit to St George’s Park last season… after the England international completed £105m move to the Gunners
Ian Wright has revealed he attempted to convince Declan Rice to join Arsenal during a visit to England’s St George’s Park in March.
After months of speculation, Rice completed a British record £105million move to the Gunners from West Ham on Saturday.
Former Gunners striker Wright says he had a conversation with the 24-year-old last season and told him to envision what it would be like to play alongside Bukayo Saka at club level.
‘Everyone was saying about when I went to the England squad, I was tapping him up.yes I F*****g was. Literally, I was begging him!’, Wright said speaking on Wighty’s House.
‘I don’t work for the club, I’m an Arsenal fan. I said, “look at you and Saka, how cool you lot look together”, It’s just excitement.’
Declan Rice has completed his long-awaited British record £105million move to Arsenal
Ian Wright (right) has revealed he attempted to talk rice into joining the Gunners in March
Rice arrives at Arsenal after a nine-year spell in East London where he made history as the third West Ham captain ever to lift a major trophy with last season’s Europa Conference League win.
The England international penned an emotional open letter to Hammers’ fans after his exit was confirmed.
When asked by the club’s official website why he had chosen to join Arsenal, there had also been interest from Manchester City and Bayern Munich, he said: ‘I’ve been looking at Arsenal over the last couple of seasons and the trajectory they’ve been going on.
‘Last season was an outstanding season, blowing pretty much every team out of the water with the exception of Man City.
‘With Mikel and how he works, the squad, how young everyone is, the energy around the club and also the challenge of getting Arsenal back to where they belong, that means a lot to me. I know the fans really want that.
Rice has been Arsenal’s No 1 target all summer as they look to reshape their midfield unit
Rice looks set to join Captain Martin Odegaard (L) and Kai Havertz in a three-man midfield
‘For me as a player, I’ve come here really hungry to have more success and to spend my best years at this great club.’
With the departure of Granit Xhaka, a new anchoring midfielder was a priority for Arteta and Arsenal this summer.
The midfield area was part of the team Arteta has been eager to rebuild, with Kai Havertz joining from Chelsea to form a three-man group with Martin Odegaard and Rice.
Rice, who has become a regular in the England set-up over the past few years, will join his new team-mates on the tour of the United States on Sunday.