Before Declan Rice Rejects Manchester City He Should Think Of Harry Maguire


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The writing has been on the wall for Declan Rice’s West Ham United career for some time now.

East Londoners haven’t given up hope that their iconic captain might yet remain, but all the signs indicate he is set to depart.

At his last home game, the fans serenaded him with a chorus of “ten more years Declan Rice” a chant, which if mobile phone footage is to be believed, moved the defensive midfielder.

Since talk of his leaving arose, there has been one consistent name believed to be leading the race to sign him: Arsenal.

At the time the links emerged it looked like a very exciting move. The Gunners sat atop the Premier League table and the addition of a player like Rice looked like the depth this reinvigorated team needed to establish itself at the top of the table for a while.

Since then the narrative has shifted, Arsenal’s title challenge fell away and Rice took on the mantle of ‘missing ingredient’: the midfield leader with presence and technicality who’d help them finally get over the line.

A more concerning development arrived with the opening of the transfer window.

Suddenly, as can often be the case with apparently nailed-on deals, the certainty Rice was heading to the Emirates Stadium dissipated.

The reason? Just as they did in the 2022/23 title race with the Gunners, Manchester City crept up and threatened to steal the prize from their rival’s grasp.

“Arsenal, clearly, are in pole position. It is felt most of the negotiation around the transfer from a player perspective is done,” explained BBC reporter Simon Stone

“Man City’s interest is real though, even if, with Rodri, Mateo Kovacic and Kalvin Phillips, they are not exactly short of central midfield options, despite the departure of Ilkay Gundogan for Barcelona. It would be easy, for instance, to see David Moyes being interested in Phillips, even though the England man says he is committed to City.

“Arsenal’s problem is this; they can feel confident in their position, continue to chip away at West Ham and hope eventually, the answer is ‘yes’. But that comes with risk. What if Pep Guardiola makes a persuasive pitch? Would Rice really turn down the Treble winners, who have the ability to pay more than Arsenal because they generate more income?

“It is easy to dismiss the current situation as [West Ham] owner David Sullivan trying to drive up the price of a player he knows is leaving. However, for Arsenal, the stakes are high – and they need to get their reaction right,” he concluded.

In situations like this social media is awash with posts claiming to know what Rice’s true feelings are. From the suggestion he wants to stay in London to the argument he can’t say no to Pep Guardiola, the theories about what is going through the young midfielder’s mind are endless.

Stone crystallized the choice succinctly

“At City, he would be almost guaranteed success – but given the strength of their squad – if the transition does not go smoothly, game time might be difficult,” he suggested.

“At Arsenal, he would be central to manager Mikel Arteta’s plans, an automatic choice, as he was at West Ham and a captain in waiting.

“The problem with making decisions like this one is that there is no right or wrong and the wisdom of whichever path he chooses will only be determined years after the event,” he added.

Comparisons have been drawn to Kalvin Phillips, who has gone from one of England’s most exciting midfielders to sparsely used backup player at Manchester City, and Jack Grealish, who was not trusted in the big games in his first season at the Etihad.

But if Rice is to truly assess what the best choice for him is, he should look at some of those who chose not to move to Manchester City too.

The Sad Story Of Harry Maguire

In 2019, Harry Maguire faced a very similar dilemma to his England colleague Rice.

Defending champions City wanted to add him to their roster, but their interest was rivaled by crosstown rivals Manchester United.

Joining the Citizens would see Maguire become the fourth senior center back with John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi and Ameyric Laporte already well-established at the club.

At the Red Devils, Maguire was a near-guaranteed starter, a clear upgrade on the likes of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof.

Just like Rice, there was also the suggestion, should he pick United, the captaincy would soon follow.

City was unwilling to meet Leicester City’s valuation and ultimately Maguire chose the Red Devils.

“They were both interested, I spoke to Manchester City and I spoke to Manchester United,” he explained afterward.

“I spoke to Pep and obviously the football they play and what he’s done for the club… [I have] great respect for him and what he’s done for football, but my heart was set.

“It gave me great confidence and belief, for [United] to pursue it over a 12, 15 month period, they showed how much they believed in me and how much I would be a big part of the team.”

A demonstration of that belief came after just six months when he was named club captain.

But in the long term for both personal development and titles won it has been a less than impressive choice.

Maguire has regressed from England’s most exciting center-back to a comedy figure who can barely get a game for Manchester United.

He won the first trophy of his career this season but had the ignominy of having to watch from the bench.

An acknowledgment of his lack of prominence was evidenced by the fact he didn’t lift the trophy alone sharing the honor with the man who’d been captain on the field that day; Bruno Fernandes.

It’s impossible to know whether such a decline would have taken place at City, the example of Phillips proves progress under Pep Guardiola is never a given.

But you would have thought the stability of working under one coach who earned eight trophies in the period he’s been at United may have changed his career trajectory.

His story is one Rice should at least consider when he weighs up whether to reject Manchester City in favor of a more prominent role at Arsenal.

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Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

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