Emile Smith Rowe should stay at Arsenal and be given a proper chance to shine by Mikel Arteta, journalist Charles Watts has claimed.
What’s the latest on Smith Rowe and Arsenal?
The 22-year-old has had a nightmare campaign, failing to make a single league start in what has been an injury-hit season, and in recent games has failed to even make an appearance off the bench.
The likes of Leandro Trossard, Fabio Vieira and Reiss Nelson have all been preferred to the England international, who has been described as “special” and this has fuelled speculation that he could depart this summer.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Watts bemoaned the exit rumours around Smith Rowe and called for him to be given a chance to prove his quality next season.
“It’s going to pain me if Emile Smith Rowe goes, I really don’t want it to happen,” he stated.
“I want him to stay, I want him to get back in the team, I want him to do what he did last season, I want him to be given the chance, I don’t think he’s been given the chance, I don’t know why he hasn’t been given the chance this season.
“Mikel Arteta clearly is not playing him for some reason. Emile’s fit, he’s healthy, he’s pain-free for the first time in a long time, but he’s not playing and that’s down to Mikel. He’s choosing not to play him.
“Against Nottingham Forest, at the weekend, when you’re losing by one goal and he brings on Fabio Vieira and leaves Smith Rowe on the bench, I mean, that just says it all really.
“It just makes you think that he could well go this summer if a big bid comes in, if a decent bid comes in for Emile Smith Rowe you would think if Arteta is not using him, you would entertain that offer.
“So I think you cannot rule out Emile Smith Rowe leaving this summer.”
Should Arsenal keep Smith Rowe?
The midfielder was a standout player for Arsenal last season, scoring 11 times in all competitions having played both through the middle and on the left.
One possible reason why he has not been used is that Arteta may be carefully managing his return, as he has done in the past with Gabriel Martinelli.
When the Brazilian returned from a long-term layoff in 2021, he was used sparingly for the rest of the season, starting in just seven of his 14 league appearances, which included a spell of seven games without an appearance, before nailing down a regular spot later on in the following campaign.
Arteta may have similar plans for Smith Rowe, who came through the Hale End academy alongside the likes of Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson, but it remains to be seen whether he would be tempted to sell if a sizeable bid arrived this summer.