‘I was very nervous’ – Rice opens up on big summer move to Arsenal from West Ham

Declan Rice admits he had to shake off some initial nerves created by the hefty price tag in his blockbuster summer transfer move.

The 24-year-old joined the Gunners for £105m in July following ten years spent at London rivals West Ham.

Rice was the subject of interest from several top clubs including Manchester City and it took Arsenal past the £100m barrier to finally lure him away from east London.

And the midfielder admits he found it tough in the early stages following his move to last season’s Premier League runners up.

“When the transfer was going through I was very nervous because of the price tag,” he said.

“It’s natural to think about that. You’re a human being bought for £105m, it doesn’t feel very normal. But that was because of what I’d done at West Ham, what they valued me at.

“When I signed for Arsenal, I just thought I just need to be Declan Rice, be myself, don’t be any different, everything will go smoothly.

“The first three weeks of pre-season were really tough in terms of the change. When you’re at a new job you start to feel really settled after a few weeks.

“That really feels the case now. In terms of the price tag, I don’t really think about it, I just play the games and try to play as well as possible.

“Honestly, I just try to play my football. I don’t let it affect me in any way, shape or form.”

Fellow England team-mate Jack Grealish also has the £100m price tag to his name having moved from Aston Villa to Manchester City in 2021, and Rice says he can empathise with the pressure of having to perform straight away.

“It’s £100m, it’s a lot of money, I could understand the pressure that comes with it,” Rice added.

“Not only the pressure you put on yourself but there’s an expectation of being bought for that much money we need to see performances straight away.

“I want to repay the club back straight away, they have invested a lot of money in me, I need to prove why I can go there and change things.

“I can see why Jack struggled maybe at the start – mentally. He was a £100m footballer but as he wasn’t playing as much, it was probably as bit different for him. Now he’s flying and it’s the same for me.”

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