Morning Gooners and welcome to Friday. How we all holding up? Ok?

Obviously if you’re a social media obsessive like me then you’ll have seen the noises last night from Di Marzio that Rice is getting closer to agreeing to sign to Man City. I believe he’s pretty reliable and if these noises are true then it means that there is a possibility of us potentially losing out on the player. However, whilst in the moment I too was getting anxious and a little crazy last night when I read the messages, I find that overnight I have been able to become a little more sanguine about the situation.

After all if City come in, if he decides he wants to join them, if they have outbid us because of their status as a financially-doped nation state, then what can we do? And should I as an Arsenal fan really lose much sleep over it?

Probably not. But I also don’t think we should be admitting defeat just yet. These big transfers always do have twists and turns in them and whilst Mudryk turned against us towards the end in January, Gabriel Jesus always wanted us, admitted there had been some interest from other clubs, but Arsenal had done their groundwork and had convinced the player to join.

Of course the same can be true of Rice and the player himself could be sold. But we all have to admit that the lure of joining a team that has just won the treble isn’t exactly going to be something you completely dismiss. This isn’t like last summer with Jesus and the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea were sniffing around. I would say were it any other team other than Man City and most of us probably wouldn’t even be batting an eyelid. But it is City, they are the best team in the league and if you are going to join a ‘project’ in the Premier League I personally think there are two that are truly exciting right now: Arsenal and Man City.

Arsenal because of the young team and what looks like a meteoric trajectory in the last two seasons.

Man City who are ‘already there’ and reached its peak last season.

But, like I said, I am still hopeful. I’m hopeful because of a few things.

  1. Noises are that Rice’s wife specifically is very keen to stay down south. Don’t underestimate that as an important influencing factor. After all we’re all talking about how Xhaka’s wife has been part of the player’s desire to move back to Germany. We can’t on one hand look at a factor like that for one of our players and see that as a shame, then on the other hand think it may not be a benefiting factor for us when it comes to Rice.
  2. The lure of Arteta. Some might dismiss this but there is no doubt that he has shown how impressive he is as a coach. And the noises as early as January were that Rice was impressed by Arteta. Do we not think the player will have spoken to him? Yes, I get it, Pep is a legend, but there are questions about how long he will be manager for and we can’t deny that Man City are about to go through some change in the next couple of seasons. Which project is at the start and could go super nova and which project may just have peaked?
  3. The age demographic of our squad. We’ve all talked about it. People in the game have talked about it. There are a bunch of Arsenal players all in their early 20s and we’re getting them all signed up for the next four to five years. Rice would join a group of players with whom he could realistically have four or five years with. All together, all building, growing, imrpoving and hopefully winning trophies. That counts for something too I think.
  4. The Saka factor. We see it with their social media messages to each other. We see it when they are on England duty. Rice is loved by all of the England players and no doubt all the Man City players will get on with Rice, but is Saka really his ‘bestie’ and does that have an – albeit small – factor in his decision making?

Of course what we’re assuming here is that we have all offered the same money, the same package, that this is a straight shoot out. Maybe Man City decide that they want to nplay their trump card, which is to just throw a crazy figure of like £150million at West Ham just because they can. If that happens then Arsenal rightly walk away I think, but if both bids on the table are equal and it is down to the player to decide, I think we certainly have a fighting chance of getting him.

I don’t think I want to labour on this too much today, to be honest with you. There’ll be rumour and counter-rumour all this morning and afternoon re: Rice I suspect, so even if you get around to reading this in the afternoon, what I’m saying might all be irrelevant if we see an Ornbomb, for example. So I’ll call it quits today and let’s see what comes out in the wash for the rest of Friday.

Have a good one folks.