'Why would he want to play for Arsenal?': Declan Rice's future questioned by former England international

Declan Rice gestures duting West Ham's 1-1 draw against Newcastle in February 2023.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Declan Rice looks destined to leave West Ham United this summer, with elite clubs across Europe all linked with a transfer for the Hammers captain.

Arsenal currently seem in pole position to secure his signature, beating the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Bayern Munich to his transfer in the process. While the Gunners have had two bids rejected already, they are the only side to have made concrete offers to West Ham for Rice. 

Former West Ham goalkeeper and England international David James has questioned if Arsenal is the right choice, though, arguing a team guaranteed to win in Manchester City should be the more desirable option. When asked who he should pick, James had a forthright response. 

"Why would he want to play for Arsenal?" James argued. "One team are the European, FA Cup and Premier League champions - the other is none."

Despite being so unequivocal, the former England shot stopper would rather Rice protect his legacy at West Ham and move away from the Premier League. 

"I'd rather he went abroad," James said. "Because then he won't be in a team that might want to beat West Ham and that would be something I think a lot of West Ham fans wouldn't like.

"Declan is top-drawer and Manchester City are the best team in Europe - and are probably going to be the best team in the world in few months if they win the World Club Championship.

"If Declan Rice is part of that it's because he deserves to be - so all the best to him if it happens."

After lifting the Europa Conference League trophy at the start of June, West Ham chairman David Sullivan confirmed that Rice would be departing the club after 245 appearances, stating West Ham's attempts at keeping their skipper at the London Stadium with a new contract have been unsuccessful. 

"I think it has to be," Sullivan told talkSPORT when asked if the final was Rice's final appearance for the Hammers. "We promised him he could go. He set his heart on going."

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