Declan Rice explains main reason he snubbed Man City to join Arsenal | Football

Declan Rice favoured a move to Arsenal despite interest from Manchester City (Picture: Getty)

Declan Rice says a move to Arsenal ‘seemed more exciting’ than Manchester City as the two clubs battle to become Premier League champions.

Arsenal and Man City were both desperate to sign Rice from West Ham last summer but it was the Gunners who secured his signature in a deal worth £100m.

Pep Guardiola was keen to welcome the then-Hammers captain to his squad at the Etihad Stadium but Rice’s preference was a move to north London to join Mikel Arteta at Arsenal.

Rice’s current club and former suitor have been locked in an intense title battle this season, with just one point separating the sides with a handful of games remaining.

Unless Manchester City slip up, Arsenal and Rice will miss out on winning the Premier League, but the England midfielder appears to have no regrets over his transfer decision.

When it was pointed out to him that he could well have been playing alongside Rodri rather than battling Man City for the title, Rice told The Athletic: ‘I know.

‘But this project seemed more exciting and that’s why I chose to come to Arsenal, because I believe we’re on to big things here.’

Rodri arriving to a Premier League match with Manchester City

Rice heaped praise on Manchester City rival Rodri (Picture: Getty)

Rice, who is set to be a key member of England’s squad at Euro 2024, also insisted he enjoys his midfield battles with Rodri, who he views as the ‘best in the world’ in that position.

‘It’s good, I enjoy it,’ Rice added. ‘We’re different players, I feel. With Rodri, he was born in Spain, he’s always been a natural No 6.

‘You can just tell by the way he plays that he’s worked under Pep (Guardiola) for so long. He’s a lot more structured than I am.

‘I’d say I’m a lot more off-the-cuff. Obviously, this season I’ve been more structured. But in terms of the way I play, I feel like… being free a little bit more.

‘There are different things that we complement each other on — but no doubt, he’s the best in the world.’

Arsenal have not won the Premier League since 2004 but have mounted back-to-back title challenges under Arteta.

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The Gunners finished five points behind Manchester City last season and will finish two points behind Guardiola’s side if both teams win their remaining fixtures.

Arteta’s team continue their title challenge on Saturday with a home match against Bournemouth, before taking on Manchester United at Old Trafford and then hosting Everton on the final day.

City, meanwhile, face Wolves this weekend before taking on Fulham, Tottenham and West Ham. Guardiola will also lead his team out in another FA Cup final, with Man City meeting locals rivals United at Wembley on May 25.

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