Alan Shearer admits he was blown away by ‘superb’ Arsenal player after meeting him

Alan Shearer has admitted that he was utterly convinced that one Arsenal player would have a superb campaign after meeting him in pre-season.

Although they didn’t win the Premier League as hoped, Mikel Arteta and his side definitely took a huge step forward this season.
Last campaign their season came undone in an unsavoury manner, with Erling Haaland putting Rob Holding to the sword at the Etihad.

That now feels like a distant memory, and although still incredibly frustrating, losing by the smallest of margins to Manchester City this time around was much more palatable.
Some of Pep Guardiola’s players have already admitted to enjoying a bit of luck in their win, even if Rodri hasn’t been so forgiving with his comments.

But Arsenal will know internally that they are so close to repeating some of their historic achievements, and will perhaps even hope that a first Champions League win is on the horizon in the coming years.

That being said, Arsenal will need to deliver another strong transfer window, repeating the success of deals for Declan Rice and Kai Havertz.
Alan Shearer says he was seriously impressed by Declan Rice’s attitude

Incidentally, Alan Shearer has now recalled a story of when he met Declan Rice in pre-season last year, just before he moved to north London.

Shearer was speaking on ‘The Rest Is Football’ podcast and explained how impressed he was by Rice’s demeanour, something he thought would bode well for the season ahead.

He told: “I saw him last pre-season in a restaurant in Portugal and he was with a couple of his pals and he came over and had a chat.

“I was saying to him about the season ahead and how much is the price tag – but he was just so relaxed, he was so looking forward to it.
I mean he was on a break, he had loads of energy he was going back the following morning to sign for Arsenal and you know I just had a feeling like he’s going to smash it this season.

“And I think that’s exactly what he’s done, he’s been superb in whether he’s had to protect, win that ball, drive forward, I think he’s had the complete season that you’d hope for him.

“Because yeah, it’s not easy when you’ve got a, although it’s no fault of your own, a massive price tag around you that everyone is always looking for something.
But he’s not given them anything to have a pop at him, I think he’s just been superb in everything he’s done.”

What’s the best plan for Declan Rice next season?

Of course, given the plethora of roles Declan Rice has played in this season – what should be the plan to maximise his output next?

It’s a decision which will have a big bearing on Arsenal’s transfer plans, meaning they will either need to add a holding midfielder or a number eight.

Playing in the pivot remains the England international’s best position, a role he will play for his country at the Euros.

But it would be a surprise if Arteta ditched his more advanced role for Rice now, especially given the defensive security it offers.

Perhaps Newcastle United’s Bruno Guimaraes is therefore the perfect signing in that regard, a talent who can also play both roles.

Alternatively, Arsenal could seek a real physical presence, a combative number six like Fulham’s Joao Palhinha.

That being said, Gary Neville has just pointed out that one Arsenal player has simply become irreplaceable.

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