Keir Starmer names dream Arsenal summer signing and hails Mikel Arteta

Sir Keir Starmer wants Arsenal to sign Declan Rice ‘as soon as possible’ and has backed the West Ham midfielder to thrive at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal news, exclusives and analysis

Arsenal, who finished second in the Premier League last season, are optimistic of signing Hammers captain and England star Rice this summer in a deal worth around £100m.

Following West Ham’s Europa Conference League win, Hammers chairman David Sullivan confirmed Rice had likely played his final game for the club.

Sullivan said ‘three or four’ clubs had expressed interest in signing the 24-year-oldbut Arsenal believe they are at the front of the queue as they look to bolster Mikel Arteta’s squad after a largely promising campaign.

The Gunners have also been linked with a move for Moises Caicedo – having submitted several offers for the Brighton midfielder in January – but Labour leader and Arsenal season-ticket holder Starmer would prefer to see Rice arrive in north London.

‘Declan Rice is the one I would really like to see come in,’ he told Football London. ‘I think he’s a fantastic player, I think he’d fit into Arsenal a treat.

‘There’s [Moises] Caicedo as well from Brighton who I know we’re after. But Declan Rice is the one I’d like to see completed as soon as possible if that’s going to happen.’

Starmer also heaped praise on Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta for transforming the club into Premier League title challengers.

The Gunners were just 10th in the English top-flight when Arteta was appointed in December 2019 but the team have improved each season, finishing just five points behind champions Manchester City last term.

‘What he’s created this season is a team,’ Starmer, 60, said of Arteta, who captained Arsenal before beginning his coaching career as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Man City.

‘I know that sounds a bit of an odd thing to say but it’s not eleven individuals, he’s created a team that works well together.

‘Because I’m a season ticket holder, we get together for a drink before the game, a whole bunch of us walk down together.

‘Afterwards there’s always the question of who’s been the player of the game. This season it’s been really hard because actually the team has played so well.

‘The player management has been incredible. [Granit] Xhaka, I was there the day in 2019 when Xhaka was subbed, took his shirt off and threw it on the ground and there was a very strong feeling that he wouldn’t play for Arsenal again.

‘Arteta turned him around to a point where certainly this season he would have been amongst the first on the team sheet every week and where there’s a standing ovation at the last game of the season when it became clear he may be leaving the club. That’s an amazing piece of player management.

‘The other example I would give is [Martin] Odegaard, who as soon as he arrived at Arsenal, initially on loan, I thought here is a technically gifted player.

‘Once Arteta made him captain, that gave him authority on the pitch which took his game up a level.

‘So I think there’s a lot there to learn about teamwork and leadership in the way that Mikel Arteta has put that team together and has created a team that works well together.’

While Arsenal came close to winning the Premier League last season, they have now gone 20 years since their last title triumph. They lifted their last trophy – the FA Cup – in Arteta’s first season at the club.

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

Follow Metro Sport for the latest news onFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Source: Read Full Article