David Moyes admits West Ham miss Arsenal's bargain £105m star Declan Rice

Moyes joked the fee for Rice should have been £150m (AFP via Getty Images)
Moyes joked the fee for Rice should have been £150m (AFP via Getty Images)

David Moyes believes Arsenal snaffled a bargain when they signed Declan Rice last summer, with the former West Ham captain’s performances this season on another level to his £100million midfield rivals.

Rice swapped east London for north in a £105m move ahead of this season and has been arguably Arsenal’s player of the year so far in helping drive their title push.

At the time, some commentators questioned the size of the transfer fee for a holding midfield player, though it was hardly an outlier, with Chelsea signing Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez for fees north of £100m either side of the deal.

While that pair are yet to live up to billing, Rice has quashed any debate by adding five goals and six assists in the Premier League to his outstanding all-round game and Hammers boss Moyes is unsurprised by the 25-year-old’s success.

“I always said, and I think everyone laughed, that he should be £150m,” the Hammers boss said. “I think other players have been sold for close to his price and I don’t think they’ve touched Declan’s level of performance.

“The other thing is Declan is English, an England international, and he’s 25 now so he’s still got another six or seven years of his best years still to come.

“So, I think in time maybe we’ll look back and think it could have been more. But let’s be fair, I think most people including the media, everybody, would have said it was a really good price for Declan at the time.”

West Ham host Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday, looking to make it three wins on the spin to confirm their European push as firmly back on track.

After a miserable start to 2024, the Hammers have rediscovered their scoring form in recent weeks, finding the net seven times across victories against Brentford and Everton.

Moyes is, however, still concerned by his leaky defence, after Freiburg claimed a 1-0 first-leg lead in the sides’ Europa League last-16 meeting in midweek to continue a run of ten games without a clean sheet.

Burnley, already doomed to relegation, have scored only 25 times in 27 league matches this season, but West Ham have shut out their opponents only five terms all term, with four of those coming in succession over the festive period.

While the inconsistent form of central defenders Kurt Zouma and Nayef Aguerd has heavily contributed, Moyes also believes Rice’s absence from the base of midfield has had a significant effect.

“We’ve hugely missed Declan Rice,” he added. “I think Declan covered up a lot of things, was able to tidy things up and help us.

“He’s probably the best player in England at the moment I would say. If you lose the best player in England out of your team you’re going to be affected one way or the other, doesn’t matter how good your signings have been and how well they’ve done. His miss, we’ll feel it.”