Pep Guardiola names the Arsenal star every Premier League club would want to sign | Football

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MARCH 10: Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City, looks on prior to the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City at Anfield on March 10, 2024 in Liverpool, England.(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola admits Arsenal won the lottery by signing Declan Rice from West Ham in the summer.

The Gunners obliterated their transfer record by agreeing to pay their London rivals £105million for the England international.

City provided Arsenal with competition for the services of the 25-year-old after Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United dropped out of the race.

Rice has since gone on to more than justify his fee with a series of outstanding displays at the heart of Arsenal’s engine room and played a key role in their pursuit of a first Premier League title in 20 years.

Up against the likes of Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva on Sunday, Rice will face arguably the toughest test of his Arsenal career to date when Mikel Arteta’s side travel to the Etihad Stadium onSunday.

Guardiola, however, had nothing but praise for a player he coveted himself and one he believes would get into any side in the English top flight.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s summit meeting, Gaurdiola was asked about City’s failure to sign Rice and said: ‘I think all the teams in the Premier League would have [wanted to] sign Declan Rice.’

Declan Rice won his 50th England cap in midweek

Declan Rice won his 50th England cap in midweek (Picture: Getty)

Declan Rice has proven to be an inspired signing by Mikel Arteta

Declan Rice has proven to be an inspired signing by Mikel Arteta (Picture: Getty)

Rice, himself, meanwhile is under no illusion as to the size of the task his side face, especially in light of the chastening experience Arsenal endured in the corresponding fixture last season when their title aspirations evaporated following a 4-1 defeat.

‘We have got to go to the Etihad, which is going to be really tough, but if you want to get past that barrier of Arsenal being labelled stuff, you have to go there and win,’ said Rice.

‘We have to show that steeliness and character to prove we can be one of the best teams. There’s no doubt that City are the best team in the world at the minute, but we have full confidence and belief as a group, and the manager, that we can get a result.’

He added: ‘I have obviously been in big-pressure situations this season in games where, if we hadn’t won we would be slipping away from the teams at the top,” said the midfielder.

‘You feel that pressure before the games, you know in your mind that you have to go out there and do everything you can to win and get three points.

‘I really thrive off those moments, so hopefully we can keep putting ourselves in big-pressure games. That is where you learn the most about yourself, and obviously as a team as well.’

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