HomeFootball NewsWhat do Rice and Timber bring to Arsenal this season?

What do Rice and Timber bring to Arsenal this season?

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Arsenal recently confirmed the signings of centre-back Jurrien Timber from Ajax and midfielder Declan Rice from West Ham United. Timber was bought for a fee around £38m, whilst Rice joined for £105m including add-ons.

Mikel Arteta will be pleased with his signings due to them being high up on his shortlist for players to bring into the club, but with nearly £150m being spent on two players, what should the Gunners’ fans expect?

Declan Rice featured 204 times for West Ham, scoring 10 goals and registering 10 assists. The defensive midfielder attracted interest from clubs around Europe, in a season where the Hammers earnt silverware for the first time in 43 years. The Englishman, who is only 24 years-old, is a strong addition to the Arsenal squad.

With the departure of Granit Xhaka and lingering rumours of a move away from Arsenal for Thomas Partey, the addition of Rice is important in terms of his leadership and experience at a relatively young age.

He is also able to play further up in midfield in an eight position, whilst also being able to fill in at centre-back. Adding a player with such versatility will be a massive positive for Arteta’s team, especially considering Arsenal’s squad depth raised concerns last season.

Timber’s move to Arsenal from Ajax is another exciting one for Gunners fans. The Dutch defender mainly plays at centre-back, but he is able to fill in more than adequately at right-back.

Timber featured 34 times in the Eredivisie for Ajax last season, showing how important he was for the Amsterdam side. A comfortable defender on the ball, he will fit perfectly into the way Arsenal play, as they like to control possession. Timber would also be able to transition into midfield during attacks and fill in midfield if his manager needs him to.

At just 5”10’, Timber could be targeted for his height. If the new signing does play at centre-back, then he will most likely be partnered with either William Saliba or Gabriel Magalhaes who provide height at the back.

With Arsenal having big expectations put on them and with the return of Champions League football to the Emirates Stadium, they will hope to justify their spending.

With Euro 2024 at the end of the forthcoming campaign, both Rice and Timber will want to make an instant impact with their new club.

However, with Rice being 24 and Timber being 22, the Gunners are also looking to the future with both players.

Arsenal beat the MLS All-Stars 5-0 in Washington D.C. on the first match of their pre-season US tour, with Rice and Timber both featuring as substitutes.

The match against the All-Stars – managed by former Manchester United player Wayne Rooney – saw Arsenal’s other major summer signing Kai Havertz hit the back of the net in the 89th minute.

Big German forward Havertz – who scored the winning goal in the 2021 Champions League final – joined Arsenal for around £65 million from London rivals Chelsea at the end of June,

The Gunners’ pre-season had already started with a 1-1 draw to German side Nurnberg a week before the MLS All-Stars game.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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