The first half of the campaign went extremely well for Emile Smith Rowe, as, after catching the eye in pre-season, he made a significant impact in the first-team.
Although it was evident that some aspects of his game, especially his defending, require fine-tuning, the overall feeling regarding Smith Rowe was very positive, with the prospect having adapted extremely well to being in a first-team environment.
The second half of the season, though, didn’t exactly go to plan, with Smith Rowe spending a lengthy period on the sidelines.
Smith Rowe was sent out on loan to RB Leipzig but, largely owing to his injury, didn’t really receive a sustained opportunity to demonstrate his credentials for the German club.
Now Arsenal face a significant decision over Smith Rowe’s future as they must decide whether to send him out on loan again or provide him with further opportunities in the first-team.
RB Leipzig have admitted that they are interested in securing the services of the England youth international on a temporary basis for another season but if he does go on loan again then Arsenal must ensure that Smith Rowe receives regular playing time.
The alternative is to promote him to the first-team squad and give him chances to make an impact for Unai Emery’s side.
Smith Rowe has already shown that he can adapt to playing with senior players and given that he is capable of performing effectively out wide or as a central midfielder, he would represent a useful option for Arsenal.
Perhaps the best solution would be for Smith Rowe to remain with Arsenal for the first half of the season and use him as an impact player in Premier League games and as a starter in cup fixtures.
A decision could then be made midway through the campaign, but the most important thing is that Smith Rowe remains injury free and gets as much playing time as possible.