Monday, July 15, 2024

Report: Arsenal won’t let Smith Rowe leave this summer

According to David Ornstein, Arsenal have no desire to allow Emile Smith Rowe to the leave the club this summer.

The 22 year old has had a difficult season, undergoing surgery last September for a long-standing groin issue, after which he barely featured.

He made his comeback in January, picked up a small knock but has been fit and available since February. Since then though, he has played just 114 of the 1440 Premier League minutes available.

Understandably, it has led to speculation about his future but – for now at least – it seems we don’t need to worry too much.

Smith Rowe was Arsenal’s second highest scorer last season, and everyone can see the talent and potential, but when players don’t play, it’s hard not to worry.

Speaking last week, Mikel Arteta was clear about his need to get more from players like ESR and Fabio Vieira who haven’t met expectations this season.

“There are players we haven’t had the best out of this season,” he said.

“It’s our job to improve them because there are a few players who haven’t had the minutes or the performances and we have to seek for those players to give us a different edge. It’s not only about signing players.

“It’s about resources, staff and improving certain things that can be done better, more efficiently or smarter.”

Smith Rowe may get a chance to build some summer match-fitness if he is selected for the UEFA U21 EURO Finals, and hopefully a good pre-season can get him back to where we know he can be.

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Johnny 4 Hats

This news makes me so happy. Yes, we could get £40 odd million but ESR is a player that can provide cover for CM, ACM and LWF. He’s so versatile and that could be very useful. And he carries the ball like no one else in this squad. I can only assume Arteta is treating him with kid gloves because he’s so concerned he could break down again after his operation. A good preseason and he’ll be ready to play 90 mins a week no doubt. Nothing would make me happier than seeing him scoring and assisting on the reg… Read more »


Good. I hope this can be taken at face value. I like ESR a great deal, but it could easily be a money maximising story. Tell everyone we need him, hope he plays well in the summer tournament, then sell him at a good price. Honest as Edu can be he’s not gonna be shouting from the rooftops that he is surplus to requirements.


True – they would say this regardless of whether he ends up being sold. I’m not saying they are lying. But a decision on ESR may depend on how lots of other uncertain things play out with other comings and goings.

Johnny 4 Hats

Could be. But I think Arteta really values academy talent.

He resigned Nketiah when many thought we might let him go. He’s just convinced Nelson to sign too.

I think Arteta understands that these lads are the backbone of what it is to be Arsenal. Plus, homegrown players are important when we are apparently shipping the likes of Holding and Tierney.

I really hope Mikel is as fond of Smith Rowe as we are. I think he just might be.

Bleeding Gums Murphy

I think we may have signed nketia as a win win situation. If he is good enough we win if not we get about 20 million. The evidence says it’s an extra 20 million to spend.


Something still feels off to me. A lot of talk lately about how certain players need to show more. ESR couldn’t have shown anyone anything with how little he played this season. If it’s not an attitude problem, a training issue, or a fitness issue then why did he play so little? It doesn’t make sense. If MA wants him to fight for his place that’s fine, but it means actually using him more than an 88th min sub which is honestly insulting to him.


I’m not so sure about Arteta valuing academy talent. This write-up by Jeorge Bird tells a different story This year only one academy player made his senior debut: Ethan Nwaneri. He played one minute. Unfortunately, it looks like many academy players start to feel skeptical about their chances in the first team: – Patino had a great season on loan at Blackpool, but there are rumors that Arsenal is happy to sell him. -Ethan Nwaneri’s contract expires this season and he hasn’t yet signed a new one. – Omari Hutchinson refused a new contract and left last year. Seems… Read more »

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Saka, Nketiah and ESR all broke through when our first 11 squad was shite. Much easier pathway into the first team. I prefer winning and competing at the top of the league. If the players are good enough to compete for the top squad, they will get opportunities, Reiss, ESR and Eddie are all good examples of the club supporting academy players transitioning to the top flight by extending their contracts and giving them minutes. If you have patience, character and talent, the club has demonstrated it will work with you to make you a professional player. Maybe not at… Read more »


It’s better to have academy talent come through, but if the trade-off is between toppling City and having more academy debuts, I prefer – at this moment – the former.

I’d guess we see more debuts in the domestic cups next season, given the level up in Europe.


Unless we develop and use our academy players properly, we’ll never be able to topple Man city, because we’ll never have enough money to compete with them.

Alberto Balsam Mendez Rodriguez

Hoping this means MA has specific plans for him to play in one position, and wants a pre-season to work with him, like others in the past.


ESR to replace Xhaka in that floating number 8 seems to be the latest rumour doing the rounds.

If we bring in Rice to sit in front of the back four as well (three when in possession) and then Zinky gets forward again to link up with ESR, Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli and Jesus – then the goals are going to flow, big time.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

He can also play right 8 coming on for Odegaard. I thought that’s where he came on against Wolves.


Wouldn’t surprise me if Arteta gives him a floating role, like Xhaka and Zinchenko.

It’s a great way to foil opposition managers and leads them – and their teams – to have to second guess everything.

All top sides have that element of unpredictability in them.

(Except City of course, who either cross it in for that freak linked to the Devil’s joystick or dive (especially Grealish) all over the shop conning the ref into free kicks and penalties)

Zeshan Hussein

Outstanding news. He offers something very different to the other players we have in our squad! With champions league next season we need more depth and players that can make an impact and ESR can do just that.


Glad we’re keeping him too, but anyone else wondering about a 22 ESR hoping to shine at the Euro u/21s…? No…just me…


I get why everyone is anxious but I do wonder at the memories of us fans. I remember 2 or 3 seasons ago when everyone was questioning whether Arteta hated Martinelli as he apparently refused to play him. Arteta was pretty clear about the need for patience and so it turned out…I think it’s fair to take him at his word – he wants more from ESR. He expects to get more and I’m sure we will reap the benefits in due course…
….by far the greatest team the world has ever seen

Oleg's Horse



Like a new Smith-Rowe

Scott P

Very welcome news, it always grated a bit that he wasn’t getting the opportunities. Of course, none of us on the outside know the reasons why. The ceiling is high with Emile, so let’s help him reach great heights!

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Manager pushing him hard, right to the brink to get the best out of him. Similar approach Pep gave to Grealish. ESR going to have to give the manager what he wants.


Definitely worth keeping another season. His ceiling looked as high as Sakas a year or so ago, even if it’s not that high he can still be a very important player in future potentially.
I also love the way he plays, and another nice lad. He deserves another shot


I don’t see why it shouldn’t be that high honestly, he’s dealt with a tough injury and then surgery and rehab, when he’s fully himself again and gets his confidence back who’s to say he can’t become the player he seemed like he could be at times only last season?

it’s for sure less likely than Saka at this point that he’ll reach that ceiling and he has a more difficult road ahead to get there but if everything goes right?


It shouldn’t be that high not because Smith Rowe isn’t extremely talented, but because Saka is a generational talent.

Talented, hard working, humble, intelligent, coachable, selfless, athletically gifted, versatile. He’s the ultimate modern winger. He’s already great and he’s far from his ceiling. It’s not fair to any youngster to be compared to this guy. Saka has ballon d’or ceiling.


We were talking about talent but then you named literally 7 other things that determine whether that talent is maximised and reaches its full potential or not. In terms of raw football talent I don’t see much difference between the two and youve pretty much agreed. The other factors you mentioned are why Saka’s much more likely to take full advantage of that talent and become a ballon d’or type player. The fact ESR is much less likely to reach that ceiling doesn’t mean his ceiling isn’t as high.


I think from what we’ve heard Saka is a consumate professional and ESR hasn’t shown himself to be that in the past. If they keep him it’s because he’s now showing them he’s got the right attitude and that’s great for the club. If he goes then we know why.


What’s ESR ever done wrong in the past? Just curious to know because he seems like a great young fella too just like Bak!


He spoke about not eating correctly and how it improved his fitness and ability to stay fit when he started to.


Good. Interesting to see what the actual plan is.




Thank fuck. All that “I would have understood”, “Arteta needs to be ruthless” etc excuses for letting a rare gem leave us was papering over what would have been a horribly sad thing to happen. ESR has IT and we won’t produce that many academy players who come in to the first team and do what he did. The fulcrum of our early revival, and 10 goals the season before (imagine were he fit and back to his best this season how many he might have been putting away), he needs to be given every ounce of patience and opportunity… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Well said



John C

I know bloggers and podcasters have to create content but some of the cod psychology around Arteta’s “treatment” of Smith-Rowe can only politely described as over thinking.

People lose me with some of the over analysis of the minutia of Arteta’s press statements, it gets a bit silly.

There’s no evidence that Arteta doesn’t like Smith-Rowe as a player but plenty of evidence that he’s missed a large chunk of the season with an injury.


Not only that, we had all of this before with Martinelli….

John C

Arteta is a system based manager and if players aren’t integrated into the system he’s not going to put them in.

I dare say the next level Edu talks about reaching is having a 20 man squad all fully in tune to the system al la Man City.

It’s taken Guardiola several years to get there, if anything Arteta is ahead of schedule.


Yep. Totally agree.


Couldn’t have put it better myself, especially with regard to the overanalysis of press conferences which bordered on Kremlinology!


There’s no evidence that Arteta doesn’t like Smith-Rowe as a player

Well there is a bit of evidence, he’s been on the bench for about 2-3 months without playing much at all.

John C

We don’t know his fitness level and the team has moved on in style quite a bit since he last played.


If a player is on the bench for months and still isn’t fully fit then you have to ask why. Is he doing his best when it comes to preparation etc?

Either way it’s a reflection on him that he isn’t being used.

John C

Yes but it’s also evidence that Arteta has very clear requirements of his players and that takes time to not just get Smith-Rowe up to speed but also his relationships with the players around him.

I honestly think that next season we’re going to see new tactical innovations with ESR and Vieira. We’re not going to see like for like replacements but different ways of playing.


Surely being up against arguably the best two wingers in Europe might have had some influence

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Obviously he’s going nowhere, he’s one of our own.
Those who want him out, have short memories


Thank goodness. He is one of the most talented players in our squad, on par with Saka.


And we don’t have to come up with new lyrics for the Saka & Smith-Rowe song, it’s a huge win-win!


Could be the primary reason! “We won’t let him leave… we’ve got noone that’ll fit into the song… Granit Xhaka was a possible fit.. even a rhyming one, but now that he’s out we need to keep ESR.”


I think there’s a big difference in some cases between ‘fit and available’ and ‘match fit’. That’s why the England U21s point is important for ESR, because he evidently needs game time. If he can get that with the U21s this summer and come into next season game ready you’d have the confidence we can just write last season off as a blip.


It might be a stretch, but I’d love to see ESR playing the left 8 alongside øde. Fluid movement between them and the wing forwards. His late arrivals, sublime finishing and versatility would be a joy.


I agree with this. Maybe Arteta is trying to see if either ( hopefully both) ESR or Vieira develop enough on the without the ball side of the game. This is part of that role under Arteta.


Is he good enough with the final ball into the box? Genuine question rather than being a doubter.


I’d be more worried if he’s good enough when we haven’t got he ball or when we’re defending set pieces etc. We’ve seen what he can do with it.

Eric Blair

I’m one who was fairly convinced he was going to go, so I’m a bit surprised. I would love him to stay and claim his place in the team, I wonder what the club’s plan for him is?


Music to my ears.

Awesome player, Hale End lad and Arteta clearly has a role for him next season.

Great news.

I never doubted it. Great news all the same.


To me this has always seemed like a fitness issue more than anything else. Yes he was back from injury since February as the article says but he didn’t look properly fit. I remember the home game against Bournemouth where he looked well off the pace and we looked a lot better once Nelson came on.


If he’s not properly fit after 3 months injury free then you have to ask why? Is he working hard enough, is he taking it seriously etc?

Determination Cultured

Rowe would be an excellent back up to saka and martinelli. Vieira should improve to cover odegaard.


The reports that Arteta is trying to turn him into an 8 make most sense to me. On the wings, he is most effective with someone like Tierney behind him, who can storm down the line and allow him to wander infield. That’s not really how we play anymore, at least not on the left. I think that Xhaka position is his best bet to claim a place in the team.

A Different George

The obvious question is whether Arteta is thinking of him as the now-fabled “left 8,” playing the same role with Martinelli as Odegaard plays with Saka. As much as I like Granit Xhaka (and always have, though not as much as recently), Smith Rowe is clearly a more technically gifted player (at the Odegaard/Zinchenko level), as well as quicker and with more pure pace (Xhaka’s one serious weakness); Smith Rowe is also pretty damn big. In other words, replacing Xhaka with Smith Rowe could improve the team (obviously I’m not talking about Xhaka’s leadership qualities, on and off the pitch).… Read more »


Linking him up with Declan Rice and Odegaard in the centre of that midfield sounds pretty damn good.

Incidentally, I’ve had it up to here already with the Rice Is Too Expensive Gang – aka Keown And The Penny Pinchers.

If it takes £90m+ (and let’s all face it, it will) to bring Declan to the Emirates, then so be it.

I want to see us challenging for the Premiership and the Champions League – not Thrifty Tight Wads of the Year.


Getting the right player and the right attitude is paramount. As its not my money, I don’t care what we pay for players



No one is suggesting for one moment that we go bananas like Chelsea – but sometimes you just have to pay top dollar for the very best in the business; Rice is a proven International Premiership DM who can go box-to-box when required. His leadership skills and already vast experience on relatively young shoulders make this deal a no brainer.

It’s imperative that we get him on board if we are to challenge City all the way next season.


We/Stan can afford the fee but the $500K a week Manure and Man Shitty will offer him could be a problem …
hopefully the lure of London life and mateship with Saka etc will persuade him but don’t hold your breath.
Onana of Everton and Caicedo other options both young but hugely promising. Newcastle already sniffing around Onana tho. Interesting summer ahead cheers


If salary becomes an issue, then there’s not a lot we can do that wouldn’t wreck the pay structure and piss off a number of players. I get that for sure. What WILL piss me off, however, is if the club start going in with daft early bids of say, less than £80m, knowing full well that they’ll get turned down. It just wastes everyone’s time and triggers a bidding war with the silly money clubs – and that spells the end and no player. This happened with Mudryk and too many other players to mention that we’ve wanted in… Read more »

Mikels Arteta

If he wants to go play football for 500k a week under some bald prick then so be it

Arsene Wenger's Secret Lovechild

“Keown and the Penny Pinchers” – sounds like a 70’s three-piece



A God awful cabaret band in medallions and silk blousons. Drums, Bass Guitar and Electric Piano.

“We hope you’re enjoying your ‘Too Expensive’ meal tonight at The Arsenal Fish Bar, Blackstock Road, with your resident band – that’s us – Keown and The Penny Pinchers.

We’re going to finish up this evening with some Herbie Hancock style third rate porn music and thank you for having us. Don’t forget to put the clocks back tonight. That’s an extra hour to your Sunday lie-in…. Safe journey home.”


Do you see ESR making that tackle at Newcastle or defending corners and free-kicks as well as Xhaka does? Because I don’t. It’s like how people used to talk about Ramsey being one of the best centre mids but completely overlook how poor he was defensively.


Thank you Arteta for giving ESR a well deserved chance. I won’t lie, this was going to hurt.


Top teams take young talent and develop them to be world bearers.
If we judge ESR on where he is now, it’s a little underwhelming. But if you look at what he could become based on his talent, it’s the Saka/Odegaard level.


Great news. It’s been a really difficult season but I genuinely believe his ceiling is as high as any other of the Hale End kids and yes I do mean any.

There’s no guarantee he’ll reach that potential but I’d hate it to happen somewhere else until he had a proper shot.


Just imagine if he rediscovers his very best form and we field a midfield of Rice/Odegaard/ESR.

Could be frightening.


Couldn’t agree more!
Mix and rotate them with Partey (over the season and within games) and I think our midfield could be on par with the top.


We’d get walked past in midfield. He’s a Premier League level winger. He’s never played CM above the championship level for any length of time.


And we can keep the song!


I have read that there are plans for ESR to be trained for the No 8.
It would definitely make sense, especially as the main occupier of the role is being linked with a move back to Germany.
I think we will struggle to sign the players we need this summer. I know supermarkets are keeping the price of staple foods high but 95 million for Rice is ridiculous!
Glad that ESR is staying – he has a great future at Arsenal.


Mate, £95m for Rice is market forces now.

Yes, it is ridiculous – £1m for a footballer is ridiculous when you really take a step back, think about it and put it into real world context – but it is what it is. If you don’t bring in Rice, who do you bring in? Tielemans? Do me a favour….

If Arsenal pay £95m for Declan Rice and we win the title next season, I shan’t be complaining.

And the truth is that neither will you.

Bill Hall

Would also be crazy to let KT go as well as he is a better defender than Zinny and having both gives interesting options in defence. If he is sold than it’s to square one, having to find another excellent defender to rotate with Zinny, and the situation repeats itself!

With CL next season plus all the cups there are more than enough games for both. A bit more rotation is key to keeping them both happy and footballing success, Pep and Abu Dhabi United being the obvious example!


Well, we do have Kiwior?


Good player, but I think the jury is still out on whether or not he can really do it at the top top level.

One for the bench, but not a starter in the big games.


Yep. I’ve been saying this for ages, Bill. If Left Back ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

What really boils my piss is the idea that we could be letting him go to Newcastle FFS – a top four rival.

All I keep hearing – quite rightly – is that we need to be smarter in the transfer market.

Selling KT – especially to a fellow Premiership club, never mind that it might be fucking Newcastle – is not smart.


Love Tierney, but don’t think he is irreplaceable. Our formations no longer play to his strengths. Tomiyasu and Kiwior can probably emulate Zinny better than Tierney can, while also providing extra defensive solidity.


I have heard the rumours that ESR could be used in the Xhaka role. What most of us are ignoring is the tremendous defensive work Xhaka normally puts in. It is important that the left 8 has defensive instincts because that is the area we play the inverted fullback tactic. I have never been keen on Smith’s defensive game but perhaps some of us can comment on the same. Can Smith defend?


This IS the question. Xhaka played as a “free 8” and double pivot 6 and as a LB at times, pending Zinny’s roaming. It’s a complicated and nuanced role.

He obviously has more upside than Xhaka offensively, but without that defensive prowess, he will be more of a rotation piece assuming he is available to be selected.

I think it would be foolish not to get a starter level box to box 8 in this window. Out of 5000+ minutes to play next season, how many of those is it realistic to expect from ESR? 2000, 2500, 3000, 3000+ ?


Maybe for games that ESR starts, we’d need to play Tomiyasu at left back to compensate.


I think Rice, if we get him, will be more likely to play Xhaka role than sitting in front of the defence. Or maybe we shift to man city’s formation and have two DMs, with Rice being our Rodri. Either way, can’t see Smith-Rowe replacing Xhaka like for like. He doesn’t have the physicality required to cover so much ground


Maintaining the “status quo”

I approve!


All together now….


Yes! Get in!


Put your money away, Villa! 😜😂


I like it, I like it, I like it…


Another AMN we’ll let leave on a Bosman in a couple years when we could’ve gotten 40 million.


Great news- the Saka/ Smith Rowe song is one of the best. I’m sure this was a major factor in any decision making process that they’ve employed. Unfortunately the Viera song is damn good too, if only to remind us he’s not at the level of our previous one…

Man Manny

I’d hate to see him hit full potential somewhere else no matter the fee we would get for him now.
The Gnabry grief is enough to last a lifetime.


Wide decision. Hope to god he can step up.


Happy flowers!


Was never in doubt, in my opinion. The cost to replace him would be crazy and why even think of selling him when xakha is leaving, Vieira still doesn’t appear ready and would destroy one of the best fan chants ever!!!


Thinks he’s a super talent and can be rebuilt as a left sided 8 in the Santi mould , he got skills speed and a pass, side step a challenge and a serious speed of thought so for me left side 8 will suit him to the ground once he’s full fit .
LW Gabi and Leo are good options maybe even Jesus too if we got another striker but ya think ESR skillset be best suited alittle deeper where he creates and comes late into the box to finish


Maybe he hasn’t played because of his secret Nandos deliveries were discovered, but I think Arteta is protecting him in a similar way to Martinelli. A fit and firing Smith Rowe next season gives Arteta lots of options.

Dr. Gooner

I know a lot of people have been talking about letting him go because the manager doesn’t seem to trust him, and I can understand that argument. This season he certainly wasn’t part of the plans in any meaningful way. I think you have to recognize how that came about though. Martinelli, Xhaka and Zinchenko developed a fantastic partnership in the left side. Those players were integral to the type of football we played for most of the season and it’s no wonder Mikel wasn’t in a hurry to break that up. So in essence he was a victim of… Read more »

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