Emile Smith Rowe has only played 146′ minutes in the Premier League for Arsenal this season, compared to the 1920′ minutes he played throughout the 2021/22 campaign.
Emile Smith Rowe was one of Mikel Arteta’s most important players last season. He scored ten goals in 33 league appearances while playing in midfield and was rewarded with the number ten shirt, after his outstanding form in 2021/22.
However Arsenal’s new number ten hasn’t been able to kick-on this season, despite Arsenal’s brilliant form. The 22-year-old suffered a groin injury which kept him out of action for the first half of the season. Since returning in December, Smith Rowe’s minutes have come in short cameos off the bench.
He hasn’t been able to fight his way back into the starting eleven due to many other players having outstanding season’s during the 2022/23 campaign, which has lead to rumours regarding a potential move away from North London this summer.
Many clubs are monitoring Emile Smith Rowe’s situation this summer, with Aston Villa and West Ham both interested in the England international.
Aston Villa were previously in for the Arsenal academy graduate when they had a £30m bid rejected back in 2021. But the presence of former Arsenal manager, Unai Emery, in the dugout at Villa Park may mean that The Villains will chance their arm again.
West Ham are also set to explore the option to involve a swap deal with Arsenal’s move for Declan Rice. The Hammers value their club captain between £100m-£120m, however the price could come down if the Gunners would let Smith Rowe go the other way. David Moyes is said to be a big fan of the Hale End graduate.
However despite the links with a move away, Mikel Arteta reportedly still has a plan for his number ten. With Champions League football back at the Emirates next season, Arsenal’s main priority this summer is to improve their quality in depth, and losing Emile Smith Rowe would be a step backwards, not forwards.
Smith Rowe showed throughout the 2021/22 campaign that he is good enough to contribute to this Arsenal side, despite his lack of game time this season. Martin Odegaard is the only other midfielder the Gunners have that has an eye for goal, like Smith Rowe.
Mikel Arteta handed the 22-year-old a long-term contract and the number ten shirt because he trusted him. It’s time the Arsenal boss put his trust into Emile Smith Rowe again next season.
With Granit Xhaka leaving, it leaves a void and although Arsenal are expected to sign two central midfielders this summer, they must find a place for their number ten to have the chance to find his best form again. If Smith Rowe can get back to the top of his game then he can be a real asset for an Arsenal side aiming to challenge for the Premier League title again next season.