Declan Rice Celtic transfer near miss as Brendan Rodgers reveals Arsenal star was Parkhead bound

The former West Ham captain completed a record-breaking £105m move to Arsenal last summer

During his first stint at Parkhead, Brendan Rodgers disclosed that Celtic came dangerously close to making a spectacular move for £105 million Arsenal striker Declan Rice.

With just Luis Palma holding a consistent spot in the starting lineup following a lackluster summer transfer window, Rodgers is searching for ready-made first-team players this month. As the champions prepare to blow the budget in January, the Hoops manager maintains he has the full backing of the board and head of recruiting Mark Lawwell.

Although supporters will call for early acquisitions, Rodgers has managed to lose out on a number of elite players over his management tenure, so he is well aware of how difficult transfer discussions can be. One that comes to mind right away is 48-time England cap winner Rice, who was about to finish moving to Parkhead in 2017 before an injury crisis at West Ham allowed him to play for the senior squad.

Rice later led the Hammers to victory in the Europa Conference League before joining the Gunners for an English record fee last summer. The rest, as they say, is history.

Rodgers recalled: “Ideally you’d want to get them in. Deals can often be complicated, and things that might have

after three or four months may disappear. That presents a challenge. A player who was scheduled to enter the game simply needs to sustain one injury.

“I recall that during my initial visit, we searched for Declan Rice for around three months. He was ready to arrive when they unexpectedly suffered an injury. Despite this, he stayed and joined the team, and the rest is history. The club is not at fault for it. That’s simply how things work.

“We wish to give priority to a few positions. There are some roles for which we won’t have any action until the summer. However, we want to strengthen the team, and the club is thrilled.

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