Thursday, February 22, 2024

Matt Smith approaching decision time in his Arsenal career

Matt Smith has been a familiar figure around the first-team squad for some time without ever quite managing to break into the senior setup.

The midfielder has featured in friendlies and has been an unused substitute on 13 occasions, including for the FA Cup final success against Chelsea in 2020.

However, the 22-year-old has yet to make his competitive debut for Arsenal and surely a decision regarding his future at the club will have to be made soon.

Smith has gained much experience out on loan at Swindon Town, Charlton Athletic and Doncaster Rovers, and he has often stood out in training sessions at London Colney.

The Hale End product is currently with the Arsenal first-team in Dubai and filled in at right-back during the victory over Lyon this week.

Smith may well be eyeing the upcoming FA Cup third round tie away to Oxford United as a possible opportunity to make his long-awaited debut, but beyond that it is difficult to envisage him making many appearances in the second half of the season if he stays at Arsenal.

Last summer Smith could have gone out on loan for a fourth time, but he elected to remain at Arsenal to try and finally break into the first-team.

Smith has been very close to the squad and there is much to admire about his game including his passing and work-rate.

Unless something drastic changes, however, he may soon have to contemplate a permanent move elsewhere.

Jeorge Bird is the author of Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Never know what’s going to happen but at 22 it seems a bit late, especially if there’s a group of younger players ahead of him


22 is not late, just needs to play and get opportunities. This will likely not be at Arsenal but do not rule this young lad out yet.


He needs to be playing and it looks like it won’t be at Arsenal. Time to sell with a buy back clause and sell on clause as insurance but I think if he was going to make it he would’ve shown more by now. There are a few in the same position, perhaps bringing Edu closer to the Academy is an admission that we need to be a lot smarter about selling young assets while they still have a value, and getting them to teams where they can start their careers.


Fa cup winner Matt Smith could provide the backup we need in midfield when elneny leaves at the end of the season, but it looks increasingly like his future lies elsewhere. Hopefully we can get a good price for him and find a club which fits him well, because existing academy players will be watching this as well.

Put a Donk on it

Odd one. I always just got it in my head that he was guaranteed to be the next big thing cos of his FA cup ‘non cameo’, but had no idea he was 22. Deffo too late for the fella, I’m sure he’ll have a very decent championship career.


He could go to sp*rs and then he could tell them all a nice good night story about winning something…


Being an academy player at a big club can be hard sometimes. I see some comments here about him being old at 22 meanwhile Sambi Lokonga (23) is ‘young’ and ‘needs to be loaned out to gain experience’. It’s just one of those things I’ve noticed in football. Being bought for money also buys you time. Would Matt Smith have done any worse than Sambi if he had gotten those opportunities? We may never know.


That’s an interesting point regarding academy vs bought players. Is it the case that with academy players you’ve seen them play constantly and if the coaching staff thought they had “it” they would have gotten more chances? i.e With Smith being here, he had more “opportunities” but the fact that he’s overlooked says something? If you think about it, It would mean that lokonga broke through to his first team at his club which Smith has not managed to do. An obvious argument against that is the level and quality required are different for the two clubs. Oh well…Hope he… Read more »


Sambi has 115 professional appearances in top divisions and has been capped by an extremely competitive national team, while Matt Smith isn’t even the most talented Matt Smith of his generation, given that there’s another Matt Smith who is 23 has played 19 times for Wales. I get the need to love and respect our players, but sometimes there needs to be a semblance of balance to our analysis. The kid needs game time in better leagues. If he was going to make it at Arsenal he should have played a year in the Championship next.

Pat Fried Rice with Egg

I allowed his contract to run down in FIFA23 career mode.

With Sambi, Patino, Azeez in the ranks, and ESR, Vieira and Flores able to play there as well, I couldn’t make room for Smith in the squad.

Gaby! Gabi! Gabé!

Luckily for him, he clearly faked his ID and is actually 11 years old, not 22, so he’s got a good run ahead of him.

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