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Rice revels in £105m Arsenal move as Nigerians celebrate use of Odumodu’s song

DECLAN Rice has revealed how his admiration for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal’s history influenced his move to the club.

The midfielder became the most expensive English player in history yesterday after completing the switch from West Ham to Arsenal for a staggering £105m transfer fee.

Rice’s fee is £5m more than the previous all-time English player transfer record Manchester City paid Aston Villa for Jack Grealish in 2021.

“Mikel Arteta is a massive factor in the reason why I’ve come here,” Rice said in his first interview as an Arsenal player.

“I’m so excited – he speaks for himself. You see how he works – you also got a real insight into how he works on the Amazon documentary. He’s a top coach.”

The 24-year-old England international is confident his arrival will spur Arsenal to the next level of success with the most important trophies.

“There have been FA Cups, Community Shields, but now it’s time to go one step bigger and win the Premier League, win the Champions League, and I wouldn’t be here if I did not believe that. I believe in this squad. I believe in the manager,” he added.

The former West Ham captain noted that Arsenal’s pedigree as one of England’s best supported clubs and the not-too-long ago years of glory swayed him to commit to the side.

“I think even growing up, the history of Arsenal – you always hear about the Invincibles, the famous game at Anfield, you see these things all the time,” Rice explained.

“I’ve always known Arsenal as a big club but when I’ve been on holiday and had people coming up to me in London, you don’t realise how big Arsenal is – but now I do.

“Playing against them has always been tough, with the Arsene Wenger way of playing nice football, tiki-taka stuff. Coming to the Emirates has always been really hard. Home games, when I’ve played for West Ham, have always been the games you’ve been up for because it’s been a London rivalry.

“One thing about Arsenal is the fans are so passionate. They’re not scared to voice their opinion and rightly so, because this is a massive club. They demand – and us as players should demand that of each other – to push and to be successful again. Those are the main things.”

Meanwhile, Nigerians have been expressing their excitement on social media about the song used in the Rice announcement video.

‘Declan Rice’ a hit Afrobeats/rap song by Nigerian artiste Odumodu Blvck, which was released months ago, was Arsenal’s choice for the announcement yesterday, and the video has already garnered 4.5m views on Twitter in less than 24 hours.

Odumodu already met Rice (after the footballer posted a video of himself singing along to ‘Declan Rice’) even before the transfer and they spoke to each other again in a video call after the deal was sealed.

“How do you just wake up one day and decide to sing about Declan Rice of all players, that’s really crazy,” a Nigerian with username Twitterrazzi tweeted.

“Now Odumodu and Declan Rice are both having their big breaks in the same year.”

Another Nigerian on Twitter, Shawnifee, wrote: “Arsenal just had to use Odumodu Blvck’s Declan Rice for the announcement video. One of the smartest decisions ever, watch the tweet get tens of millions of engagements! Big Kala! Odumodu to the world!”

Uche wrote: “Arsenal announcing the arrival of Declan Rice with Odumodu Blvck’s Declan Rice, nothing can be sweeter, nothing can be more fitting!
Odumodu Blvck don finally blow!!”

Hundreds of other Nigerians on Instagram and Threads also posted messages showing their pride in Odumodu Blvck for the Arsenal recognition.

PHOTO: Declan Rice (left) and Odumodu Blvck in London before Rice’s move to Arsenal.

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Naija Times