Arsenal break golden rule moments after Declan Rice transfer with gesture to new signing

Arsenal break golden rule moments after Declan Rice transfer with gesture to new signing

Mikel Arteta successfully acquired the player he wanted as Arsenal revealed the signing of Declan Rice, the captain of West Ham, on Saturday. 

This transfer shattered the Gunners’ previous record fee. The North London club reached an impressive agreement of £105 million to secure the services of the English international. 

Arteta considered Rice essential to his tactical system and was willing to break financial records to bring him in.

Reports suggest that Arsenal offered the 24-year-old a lucrative contract, with a weekly salary of £240,000. 

The club firmly believes that Rice has the potential to elevate their aspirations from being contenders for the title to becoming winners. This acquisition follows the arrivals of Kai Havertz from Chelsea and Jurrien Timber from Ajax.

Like other top clubs, Arsenal follows certain internal rules and structures that are crucial for success on the field. Some of these rules hold significant importance, while others are more symbolic and rooted in long-standing traditions.

One such tradition involves the allocation of shirt numbers within the club. Senior players are typically assigned lower, more traditional numbers, while younger players and those on the fringes of the first-team squad receive higher numbers, usually outside the top 30.

This practice was elucidated by Alex Iwobi in 2020. Having progressed through Arsenal’s youth system and established himself in the first team, the Nigerian international explained how he was required by the club to switch from wearing the No.45 shirt to No.17. This change symbolized his elevated status within the club and reflected his transition to a more prominent role.

Speaking on Instagram live three years ago, Iwobi explained: “I actually loved Big 45 when I came into the scene in the first place, it was a youth team number at Arsenal but they told me to change to a senior number, so the next available that was 17.

“Ever since then, it’s been that number and you’ve got to love it.”

However, in the case of Declan Rice, it seems that the traditional rule of lower numbers for senior players has not been applied. Rice has been assigned the No.41 shirt at Arsenal, a number that is not typically associated with a first-team player at the club. This number was previously worn by Rice during his time at West Ham, and Arsenal has made a compromise to allow him to keep the number he prefers.

Rice’s shirt number may appear a little unusual, but he explained to Gary Neville on The Overlap why he had stuck with the number past his youth-team days: 

“It was just a number I was given in the academy by the kitman, Jamo. When you’re in the U23s, you’ve obviously got the first-team squad numbers and then it starts to get to the higher numbers when you’re in the U23s.

“I remember when I went to Seattle on my first trip with the first team, I just got given 41 and you know what, it’s stayed with me since. To be honest with you, I’ve been having this conversation with my Dad, regardless of what happens in my career, I think I might stay with the 41.

“‘Rice 41’ has a nice ring to it and I’ve grown up playing in it. I’m a bit superstitious with things like that – I don’t know whether if I change to a new number, it would hamper my performances. I don’t know. I just think sometimes about a couple of things like that.”

Arsenal break golden rule moments after Declan Rice transfer with gesture to new signing

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