Declan Rice has admitted he felt the pressure of his record-breaking price-tag after signing for Arsenal last summer.
Rice became Arsenal’s record signing after crossing the capital from West Ham in a £105m deal, with the England international admitting he was aware of the pressure that comes with a premium price point.
“When the transfer was going through I was very nervous because of the price tag,” he said, as per the Telegraph.
“It’s natural to think about that. You’re a human being bought for £105 million, it doesn’t feel very normal! But that was because of what I’d done at West Ham, what they valued me at. When I signed for Arsenal I just thought, ‘I just need to be Declan Rice’, be myself, don’t be any different, everything will go smoothly.
“The first three weeks of pre-season were really tough in terms of the change. When you’re at a new job you start to feel really settled after a few weeks. That really feels the case now. In terms of the price tag, I don’t really think about it, I just play the games and try to play as well as possible.”
Jack Grealish became the Premier League’s first £100m player two seasons before Rice, and admitted he struggled with the expectation during a difficult first season at Manchester City. Rice can sympathies with Grealish’s mindset, but believes both he and his England colleague are now ‘flying’ at their respective clubs.
“It’s £100 million, it’s a lot of money, I could understand the pressure that comes with it. Not only the pressure you put on yourself but there’s an expectation of being bought for that much money.
“People need to see performances straight away. I want to re-pay the club straight away, they have invested a lot of money in me, I need to prove why I can go there and change things. I can see why Jack struggled maybe at the start – mentally. He was a £100 million footballer but as he wasn’t playing as much, it was probably as bit different for him. Now he’s flying and it’s the same for me.”