Declan Rice deserves to be in contention for the Premier League's Player of the Season award and has proven to be the best signing of the campaign, says former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour.

Rice joined Arsenal from West Ham in a £105million deal last July and has had a transformative impact, helping Mikel Arteta's side push Manchester City all the way in the title race.

On Thursday, Rice – alongside Arsenal team-mate Martin Odegaard – was named as one of eight nominees for the Premier League's Player of the Season prize, with the likes of Phil Foden, Erling Haaland and Virgil van Dijk also on the shortlist.

As well as helping Arsenal maintain the Premier League's best defensive record in 2023-24, Rice has carried the ball further than any other player in the competition (7,520m), while only seven players have bettered his 147 carries progressing the ball at least 10 yards upfield.

Parlour says Rice's style reminds him of former Manchester United and England captain Bryan Robson, describing the Gunners man as a true box-to-box midfielder.

Parlour, an ambassador for NetBet, told Stats Perform: "Mark Noble's not too far away from me and I'd always ask, 'Mark, is Declan coming to Arsenal?' He'd always say, 'I don't think you can afford him!'

"I'm so pleased they stumped up the money and he's been brilliant. I never doubted him really because I know his attitude is very good. He wants to learn, he wants to get better.

"I think with [Thomas] Partey coming in as well, he can get forward a little bit more. He's a little bit more dangerous. He's got a good way of passing, he can probably score more goals if I'm being honest.

"The way he plays is like the old-fashioned midfielders. I go back to the older era with people like Bryan Robson, where you'd have to go box-to-box, and he can do that.

"He's got the energy to do that, so I like him to get forward a little bit more, but he's been absolutely superb this year and he's certainly my player of the season."

Defender William Saliba has joined Bukayo Saka in being nominated for Young Player of the Year honours, and Parlour believes the Frenchman is one of several Gunners worthy of recognition.

"There's been a lot of good performances, though. The two centre-backs have stayed fit this year and they've been excellent, Gabriel and Saliba," He added.

"Martin Odegaard has been absolutely brilliant as well, he always wants the ball, his vision is very, very good.

"But I think Declan has certainly stood out as the signing of the season and then probably player of the season for Arsenal."

Ray Parlour was speaking on behalf of NetBet Sports Betting