Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice has poked fun at the fact he has already lost his title as the Premier League’s most expensive player of the summer after Chelsea’s £115m deal for Moises Caicedo.
The Gunners agreed a massive £105m deal with West Ham for the player just over a month ago, with the fee representing a club-record deal while the complete package will exceed the British-record £100million Man City spent on Jack Grealish if various add-ons are achieved.
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But, having spent £107m on Enzo Fernandez in the January window, Chelsea one-upped Arsenal by prising Caicedo away from Brighton last week, beating off competition from Liverpool to secure a £115m deal – which sets a new transfer record.
Rice, who gave an superb display as 10-man Arsenal beat Crystal Palace 1-0 on Monday, has already seen his huge transfer fee put in the shade by Caicedo but he can see the funny side.
When the Ecuadorian’s record move – which eclipsed his own price – was brought up, Rice started laughing and told Sky Sports: ‘I had it up on the wall for two weeks! It’s come down already!’
While Caicedo had a disappointing debut, giving away a late penalty against Rice’s old team West Ham on Sunday, the England star was in good form at Selhurst Park and claims he was partly motivated by a desire to show he was worth the money Arsenal paid.
He added: ‘Before the game tonight, I was on the way to the game and I just thought, “Just go out there and have it tonight, try and put on a show”.
‘Even in the warm up I just felt an energy that I wanted to go out there and perform. I was just really up for it, to be honest with you.
‘Only two games in, obviously there’s so much talk about the price tag and me playing for Arsenal, and I want to keep proving people wrong, keep proving that I can play at the top and keep putting in top performances.
‘So I’ll keep my feet on the ground, keep listening to everyone around me, and keep pushing.’
On the result against Palace, he added: ‘If you want to be up at the top at the end of the season you have to show character and pluck out three points.
‘I think it was a massive relief to get through them 20 minutes, we know what it is like at Selhurst Park and we controlled the game completely until we went down to 10 men – we put our body on the line to get the three points.’
Mikel Arteta was full of praise for Rice, saying: ‘He was fantastic today he dominated the game we asked him to do something new and he was fantastic.