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Declan Rice: The Debrief
Talk about a roller coaster of a transfer.
This one went from feeling like it was in the bag (I started drafting this post June 15th) to feeling like it was lost after the imminent City bid (that took days to materialize and must have been walked down from Manchester and hand-delivered) to now where he is an Arsenal player after a HUGE statement of intent even if this is not a great value move for Arsenal.
The whole of Arsenal's Twitter seemed to go through those waves of emotions as well, with a tough backlash against Edu and the recruitment team when things went sour and elation when good news posted. It was one of the more public transfer sagas that I can remember and it makes me hope that they all are not like this going forward.
I think this says a lot of the player, and how far Arsenal have come in the last few years. When Arsenal were coming off of an 8th-place finish, this big splashy marquee signing of an English player over our rivals and Bayern Munich would have been fanciful thinking. Even last summer coming off of a 5th place finish, I don’t think the club's trajectory was clear enough to persuade a player like Declan Rice to spend his prime years with Arsenal.
Now, well who he turned down and that he is convinced is a big deal.
This feels like the type of watershed moment that the Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez signings were. We are back and the future is bright.
Let’s dig into the numbers on Arsenal’s record-breaking transfer.
The Debrief: Declan Rice
This will be looking at Rice’s stats by area/category from last season, this was a bit of a “down” year from what he did in 2021/22 but it was also that for in a bigger way in the Premier League for all of West Ham. All data will be per 90 minutes unless said otherwise and compared to midfielders from the top five European Leagues going back to 2015/16 for percentile comparisons.
Ball Progression, Passing, and Carrying Metrics
59.4 - Pass attempts per 90, 78th percentile among midfielders
104.5% - Pass Efficiency (the ratio of actual pass completion compared to expected pass completion, 100 is completed as many passes as expected and higher is better), 77th percentile among midfielders
6.6 - Final Third Entry Passes per 90, 87th percentile among midfielders
90.3% - Completion percentage on final third entry passes, 80th percentile among midfielders
3.5 - Progressive Passes completed per 90, 53rd percentile among midfielders
260 - Total progressive distance in yards passing per 90, 87th percentile among midfielders
5.4 - Long passes completed per 90, 85th percentile among midfielders
67.7% - Long pass completion percentage, 73rd percentile among midfielders
0.08 - Goal probability added through passing (my version of an expected threat, this measures how much the actions a player did that help or hurt the team’s chances of scoring) per 90, 64th percentile among midfielders
4.5 - Progressive carries per 90, 76th percentile among midfielders
134.6 - Total progressive distance in yards carrying per 90, 94th percentile among midfielders
0.93 - Dribbles completed per 90, 76th percentile among midfielders
1.54 - Turnovers (dispossessed plus miscontrols) per 90, 76th percentile among midfielders
0.91 - Expected Turnovers per 90 (the number of times a player would be expected to lose the ball, based on how often the attempt dribbles and where on the field they have possession), 94th percentile among midfielders
2.1 - Final Third Entry Carries per 90, 84th percentile among midfielders
0.33 - xG Buildup (the total xG where he was involved in the buildup play before the final pass or shot) per 90, 73rd percentile among midfielders
25.6% - The percentage of buildup to the total xG West Ham created while he was on the field that Rice was involved in, 66th percentile among midfielders
1.04 - Aerial duels won per 90, 53rd percentile among midfielders
59.4% - Aerial duel win percentage, 84th percentile among midfielders
2.65 - Possession adjusted tackles, 67th percentile among midfielders
65% - Tackle percentage (tackles won dived by total tackles attempted plus fouls), 99th percentile among midfielders
19% - Dribbled past percentage, 98th percentile among midfielders
0.81 - Possession adjusted fouls committed, 9th percentile among midfielders (this is showing that he committed fewer fouls)
0.97 - Possession adjusted Interceptions, 77th percentile among midfielders
0.81 - Possession adjusted blocked passes, 50th percentile among midfielders
11.2 - Possession adjusted ball recoveries, 99th percentile among midfielders
0.82 - Open play shots, 60th percentile among midfielders
0.04 - Open play expected goals, 51st percentile among midfielders
0.11 - Shots in prime (within 12 yards of goal), 55th percentile among midfielders
0.85 - Open play key passes, 64th percentile among midfielders
0.05 - Open play expected shots assisted (xA), 38th percentile among midfielders
2.75 - Shot creating actions, 60th percentile among midfielders