Mikel Arteta has hinted that one of Arsenal’s fan favourites could still have a big future at the club despite speculation linking him with a transfer away from the club in recent times.
Emile Smith Rowe had been the subject of an approach from Chelsea among other clubs in the summer and there had been suggestions that Arsenal were open to his departure, with the 23-year-old failing to become a regular part of Arteta’s first team.
The midfielder has made just one Premier League start in the last 18 months, in part due to injury, and Arsenal’s constraints with financial fair play means that the sale of an academy graduate could prove tempting, with West Ham among the sides said to be interested in Smith Rowe.
However, as exclusively reported by FootballTransfers, Smith Rowe is determined to remain at the Emirates Stadium, at least for the remainder of the season, and Arteta hinted that the youngster could have a bigger role to play going forward.
“Things are coming together for him,” Arteta told TNT Sports. “Obviously he had a difficult injury again and difficult spell. And he’s training really well.
“I think he’s really pushing to get more and more minutes and we are trying to do that because he’s a fantastic player.”
Smith Rowe’s chance to save Arsenal career
Smith Rowe has found game time hard to come by this season, having played just 36 minutes of football since returning from a knee injury last month.
However, 21 of those minutes came in Arsenal’s last Premier League game against Crystal Palace, with Smith Rowe coming off the bench to provide an encouraging cameo in a 5-0 win.
With Arsenal having spent more than £200 million on players in the summer including Kai Havertz, who has been predominately used in the same midfield role as Smith Rowe, there had been some concerns from fans that the England under-21 international was considered expendable by Arteta.
And while his future may still come into question in the summer, when he has two years remaining on his contract, Arteta at least appears to be willing to give Smith Rowe game time to prove his worth and potentially save his career for his boyhood club.