Mikel Arteta refused to comment on reported bids by Aston Villa for Emile Smith Rowe, but insisted the 20 year old would ‘100%’ stay at Arsenal.
The exciting midfielder scored for the Gunners in the 2-1 defeat to Hibernian last night, and although his future has been subject to some speculation, the manager sounded categorical about what would happen.
Asked if Smith Rowe would be at the club next season, Arteta said, “Without a question. Yes. He. will stay here. 100%.”
There has also been speculation about the Hale End graduate’s number for next season, with training photos teasing fans by not showing the digits.
With talk of a new five year deal being close to completion, a new number seems almost a certainty, and although he wore 32 last night, it would be no surprise to see his creative talents acknowledged with the number most closely associated with them.
ESR 10? Let’s wait and see.
Meanwhile, Arteta also spoke about Joe Willock whose absence last night sparked some talk of a loan with Newcastle, but it sounds very much as if he is part of the plans for next season too.
“He wasn’t involved today because he had a little groin issue,” he said.
“He trained yesterday really well but we didn’t want to risk him. Joe is part of our plans, he’s our player and in the time that he is here we will try to make the most out of him.
“He had a great experience on loan. He was, I think one of the most important players for their survival.”
His goalscoring run towards the end of last season certainly increased his transfer value, but Arsenal also need goals from midfield, and if Willock can contribute in that regard, it would be of real benefit to a side whose central midfielders scored a grand total of two Premier League goals last season.