Declan Rice admits pressure of Arsenal transfer fee was hard to handle
'You’re a human being bought for £105 million, it doesn’t feel very normal!'
Declan Rice admits he felt the pressure of his enormous £105m price tag when he signed for Arsenal from West Ham over the summer, but already feels more settled in his new surroundings.
The England midfielder was linked with a number of top clubs while he was starring for the Hammers, meaning he was never going to leave east London cheaply, but his transfer fee was still something of a surprise.
West Ham negotiated impressively and the Gunners stumped up £105m for the 24-year-old and he says he is well aware of just how vast that sum is.
‘It’s £100 million, it’s a lot of money, I could understand the pressure that comes with it,’ Rice said while on England duty during the current international break. ‘Not only the pressure you put on yourself but there’s an expectation of being bought for that much money.
‘People need to see performances straight away. I want to re-pay the club straight away, they have invested a lot of money in me, I need to prove why I can go there and change things.
‘When the transfer was going through I was very nervous because of the price tag. It’s natural to think about that. You’re a human being bought for £105 million, 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.’
Rice admits that there was a tricky period when he first moved across London, but that is normal for any switch of club and he quickly got over it.
He sympathises with England teammate Jack Grealish, who also cost an incredible amount when he moved to Manchester City from Aston Villa, but has also got over that initial difficult time.
‘The first three weeks of pre-season were really tough in terms of the change,’ said Rice. ‘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.
‘I can see why Jack struggled maybe at the start – mentally. He was a £100 million 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.’
For more stories like this, check our sport page.