Do Arsenal really want Declan Rice or is it just a hoax?




By Sir Hardly Anyone

Last transfer window over 25 different publications ran the story that Arsenal were signing Mykhaylo Mudryk.  Between them they ran the story over 50 times. HITC alone ran it at least eight times, and there could have been more (I was losing the will to live as I kept track of all the gibberish).

In the end the player went to Chelsea for £88.8m and by common consent, he wasn’t that good.  He started seven matches for Chelsea out of 22 first team games.

Now it has been postulated – nothing more just postulated – that Arsenal were never really interested in signing the player but were using the old trick of dropping occasional hints about Mudryk in order to keep media attention away from the signing of Trossard, Kiwior and Jorginho.  Chelsea, desperate to buy everyone and anyone, however thought the story might be true, and leaped into the gap.

It is also possible that the story about Mudryk was talked up by those working on the quiet for Arsenal so that Brighton and Hove Albion didn’t start raising the price for Trossard.  Brighton might well have been alarmed that Arsenal didn’t have the money for all the deals being mentioned.  Brighton not only needed the £27m they also wanted £20m up front, and Arsenal obliged (Sky Sports) – a deal which was indeed unusual.

In fact the Mudryk supposed deal took away all the attention from Jakub Kiwior – a signing that as Arsenal Insider said, “came out of nowhere. Edu sorted it out away from the eyes of the media, and before anyone knew it, it was done.”  So how did that happen?  Ah yes, the media was looking at Mudryk.

There is also the fact that Arsenal did indeed sign a Chelsea player – Jorginho for £12 million.  And indeed yet another possibility is that Arsenal offered to “back away from Mudryk” and take Jorginho (even though they quite possibly had no thought of taking Mudryk at all – but it helped jolly the Jorginho deal along, allowing Arsenal to convince Chelsea that the club was just looking for scraps.

Now of course it can be said that none of this can be proven.  That’s quite true.  But likewise it can’t be proven that Arsenal were seriously looking at buying a player for just under £89m who was so poor that he only made seven starts for Chelsea – and as one Chelsea-supporting friend put it to me, the last two of those starts only happened because no one could believe he really was so bad in the previous game.

But if these explanations are even half true, then that sheds a new light on Arsenal’s attempts to buy Declan Rice for what seems to be heading toward £100m+.   And indeed since we know that 97% of all the transfer stories in the media turn out, season after season, to be utterly untrue, it might even be the case that this is what normally happens.    Clubs pick players whom they nominate to journalists (desperate for a story) as targets, and let the journos weave their tale of lies, while the club gets on with the real purchases they want to make.

The evidence for this being the case is that many transfers that never happen have a lot of noise made about them over a period of time, while others that do happen seem to come out of the blue.

Indeed if we look back to Wenger’s era we can find multiple players who Arsenal were said to be after, but whom they never bought including (accordiing to 4-4-2)  Dimitri Payet, N’Golo Kante, Vincent Kompany, Paul Pogba, Didier Drogba, Gareth Bale, Yaya Toure, Luis Suarez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gianluigi Buffon, Cristiano Ronaldo, Claude Makelele, Jadon Sancho, Willian and Lionel Messi.

And of course each one of these “failures” to sign makes a story of its own.

Thus overall the explanations of what is going on are….

1: The rumours are true.  Arsenal did try to sign all these players, just as they tried to sign Mudryk.   But each time Arsenal cocked it up, although luckily for Arteta he avoided any egg on face as the player by chance turned out to be no good.

2. The rumours are untrue, and Arsenal had no interest in signing the player – or if they did they backed out when they saw the fee.   So if that were the case how did the rumours start?

2.1  A blogger thought up the link, ran it and then every other site copied it.   Arsenal never had any interest in the player at all.

2.2  Arsenal let the story slip to a tabloid journalist, knowing he’d sensationalize it and everyone else would copy it.  This would be because it would keep the tabloids away from the real stories.

2.3 Shakhtar Donetsk invented the story in order to build up interest in their player who they needed to sell.  Chelsea bought into the story rather than the player and so ended up paying far more for a player who had only played 29 times for his club.

Now we do know that 97% of the player transfers reported each window are untrue and the overwhelming majority of the reports cite no source other than a newspaper, blog or radio station that is quoting another newspaper, blog or radio station.

In fact given the number of fake rumours each window is 97%, sometimes even 98%, it is surely much more likely that the answers in part 2 above are true, rather than the original story being true.


4 Replies to “Do Arsenal really want Declan Rice or is it just a hoax?”

  1. We have Jorginho as backup for Partey’s moments of injury and Havertz to take over from Xhaka (backed up by the Smith). I would rather we spent 30M on Southampton’s Lavia and break him in over time than a 100M on Rice whose numbers are not better than Partey’s. Here’s the link to an interesting comparison between Partey, Rice and Rodri:

  2. Looks like a done deal now folks.
    105 million.
    Crazy money for anybody, but I think the team will be better for having an Irishman at the heart of it!!!
    Sorry to see Xhaka go, if he eventually does.
    Roll on August.

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