Amidst rumours of Arsenal’s interest in West Ham’s Declan Rice, there is speculation that Marco Verratti could be a cheaper alternative for the Gunners.

Verratti is said to want out of PSG this summer due to criticism from fans and the departure of his close friend Lionel Messi. The 30-year-old midfielder could be a relatively straightforward signing for Arsenal, given the apparent lack of interest in him from other clubs. While Rice is rated at €63.2m by an Expected Transfer Value (xTV) model, Verratti is priced at €36.1m.

According to insights from SciSports, Rice and Verratti are similar players who fit into the deep-lying playmaker category. While Rice is theoretically more suitable for a box-to-box midfielder role, he has scored 11 goals in the last three seasons, the same number as Verratti in his entire 11-year career at PSG. Therefore, while Rice may be the more high-profile player, Verratti could be a cost-effective alternative for Arsenal.

A big decision for Arsenal to make

It is a big decision for Arsenal to make, as Declan Rice has a higher projected ability according to SciSports, with a SciSkill (projected peak) of 123.5 compared to Verratti’s current level of 116.3, which is not expected to increase due to his age. While Verratti may have an edge in passing ability, Rice’s combativeness, especially in regaining possession in the final third, could make him a more suitable fit for Mikel Arteta’s high-pressing approach.

Ultimately, finances may play a big role in Arsenal’s decision, but if they can acquire Rice for a fee in the region of €80m, which is what they paid for Nicolas Pepe in 2019, they should seize the opportunity. However, it may be a big “if,” as West Ham manager David Moyes has previously valued Rice at over €100m.

By Lylla

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