A report has revealed what Emile Smith Rowe thinks about his Arsenal future after being linked with a loan move to West Ham United – speculation that on Friday drew a response from manager Mikel Arteta.
Smith Rowe has struggled for gametime over the past couple of seasons, in which Arsenal have established themselves as a top-four side again in his absence. Injuries and selection preferences have not helped his case.
TEAMtalk sources explained how West Ham had made an enquiry for the attacking midfielder, although club sources were sceptical.
We were told that Arsenal would be open to offloading their academy graduate and could even add an option for a permanent transfer to any loan deal.
Whether or not West Ham firm up their interest will take some time to become clear. However, Smith Rowe’s own perspective on his future is starting to filter through.
According to FootballTransfers, the 23-year-old is ‘adamant’ that he wants to conclude the season as an Arsenal player.
Smith Rowe wants to fight for his place as an Arsenal starter, even though he has only started one Premier League match since the start of last season.
Unaware of any contact from other clubs, Smith Rowe is ‘fully concentrated’ on his challenges ahead with Arsenal.
The Gunners still have Smith Rowe – who is the bearer of their no.10 jersey – under contract until 2026.
Earlier in his career, Smith Rowe embarked on loan spells with RB Leipzig and Huddersfield Town. Either side, he has made 108 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 18 goals.
And although he is eager to play more at this stage of his career, it seems he is still set on that being for Arsenal.
Arteta knows Smith Rowe needs more chances
On Friday, at a press conference to preview Saturday’s clash with Crystal Palace in the Premier League, Arteta insisted Smith Rowe is on the ‘right trajectory’.
Arteta has given Smith Rowe 95 of his 108 appearances for Arsenal and is still satisfied with what he sees from the playmaker in training.
“I’m really happy with Emile,” Arteta said.
“He’s in the right trajectory. Now, he’s settled, he’s training really well and you know I’m not going to talk about individual situations.”
Arteta is aware, though, that the three-cap England international needs gametime that only he can give.
“Emile is Emile,” Arteta insightfully added. “We know he’s got incredible qualities and we’re really happy to have him.
“What he needs now is chances to put all the desire and quality that he has on the pitch. In order to do that we have to give him minutes.”
Smith Rowe has been used in 12 matches for Arsenal this season, including six in the Premier League.
His problem now is that, as an attacking midfielder, Martin Odegaard and possibly Fabio Vieira are ahead of him in the pecking order.
Furthermore, Arsenal’s journey in the Champions League is continuing, which means Arteta is likely to stick with a strong lineup in that competition.
Had Arsenal been in the Europa League instead, it would have been worse for the club, but maybe better for Smith Rowe, who would have probably been rotated into the lineup more often in midweek.
All he can do now is put his head down and work on convincing Arteta to give him more opportunities, which the manager does not seem completely reluctant about, in fairness.