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“Guardiola doesn’t get emotional” – Former Arsenal and Chelsea icon questions Man City pursuit of £105 million midfielder



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Former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Petit has questioned Manchester City’s hunt to sign Declan Rice – which came to an end in the last few weeks.

Last season’s Premier League champions – who claimed the English top-flight crown as part of a historic treble – entered the race to sign the England international midfielder alongside title rivals Arsenal.

After seeing a package worth £90 million rejected, before Arsenal issued their own £105 million package proposal to West Ham, Manchester City pulled out of the race to focus their attentions elsewhere in the ongoing transfer window.

However, in fresh comments, one icon of the Premier League as well as an AS Monaco legend and former Barcelona star has called into question Manchester City’s necessity to sign Declan Rice, and how he could fall to the fate experienced by other members of the Etihad club.

Speaking during a wide-ranging interview with DAZN Bet, Emmanuel Petit admitted that while Rice would have been a ‘great’ signing for Pep Guardiola, struggles would have been met when it came to securing a place in the club’s starting line-up.

“He would have been great at Manchester City, but he would have struggled to get into the starting XI because Rodri has been so good for so many years,” explained Petit.

“Pep (Guardiola) only likes to play with one holding midfielder, and (John) Stones has shown he is more than capable of stepping in there when necessary from defence as well.

“Declan Rice is not a No.8 so he would not have been able to fit in as another holding midfielder, he is just a No.6. Rodri is certainly not injury-prone and, if I was Rice, I would ask myself if I was going to play regularly every weekend? I don’t think he would have; just look at Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez.”

Petit continued, “They were two of City’s best players in 2022 and last season they spent much of the season on the bench. Guardiola doesn’t get emotional when it comes to picking a starting XI either.

“Arsenal was the best option for him because he will definitely play every single game, he fits perfectly into the team and it is a young squad that he knows very well already from playing against them and with some of them for England as well.”

Manchester City remain active in the transfer market despite their failed pursuit of Declan Rice, and have since turned their full attention towards finalising a deal for RB Leipzig and Croatia international central defender Josko Gvardiol.

Personal terms have already been agreed with the 21-year-old, with the two clubs locked in negotiations over a transfer fee, as the Bundesliga club aim to secure a €100 million minimum deal that would make the centre-back the most expensive in his position.

City are expected to start returning for pre-season training on Monday, before undergoing fitness-building sessions at the City Football Academy ahead of their tour of Asia, flying out to the Far East the following Wednesday.