There’s something about him that I cannot quite explain.
While Bukayo Saka steals the show with his flashy runs and moments of magic, another youngster is quietly stamping his mark on the team.
Since his introduction to the starting XI against Chelsea last winter, Emile Smith Rowe has been a mainstay for Mikel Arteta and one of the top performers in an otherwise very disappointing campaign for the Arsenal.
Yet, there seems to be a difference between the perception of Emile’s importance to the team, at present and for the future, compared to his fellow Academy starlet Bukayo Saka and other young prospects such as Gabriel Martinelli and Folarin Balogun.
As written by Dave in his blog, Emile Smith Rowe deserves much more credit that he actually gets, both inside and outside of the Club, for his contribution, his quality and his attitude. If Mikel Arteta or the Club are failing in making him feel important, then we are in big troubles.
His style of play, which relies a lot on his movement off the ball, his ability to thread the play and create spaces for his teammates, is a bit more difficult to read and fully appreciate compared to Saka’s but his performances have been sensational since Mikel Arteta trusted him to play between the lines, so it’s quite distressing to see the Club stalling over his new deal and Aston Villa circling around him.
Maybe it’s all agent’s work to carve a better deal for this protégé but I don’t like the way Aston Villa felt welcomed with a first and second bid, with a potential third one on its way.
When a player is not for sale, he is not for sale but Aston Villa think they have somehow a chance to sign Emile Smith Rowe and keep coming back with slightly increased offers, as if all of this was an ongoing negotiation.
Is it? Are we entertaining Aston Villa’s offers for Emile Smith Rowe?
The whole dynamics are very odd, especially given how influential Emile Smith Rowe has been during the second half of the season and how close his ties are with the Arsenal, so why do I feel he’s not being considered as a potential starter?
I’m not stating that the door is open for him to go but I have this weird feeling that, shall a good offer come in, he will be on his way out.
That would explain why Aston Villa, after seeing their opening bid rejected, came back immediately with a second offer; I would have expected them to stay away altogether or, if Emile Smith Rowe is the player of their dreams, to come back with a serious offer, say something north of £ 50m.
This is what any Club would do if they were told that the player is not for sale or he is instrumental to the parent Club; instead, they came back with a slightly higher offer, as if they were told that the price wasn’t quite right but we were listening.
Should they come back with a third attempt, adding another mere £ 5m to the bill, I would start to believe that there’s something serious going on.
Needless to say, selling Emile Smith Rowe would be an idiotic decision to make, given how he is 1) very good, 2) very young, 3) very involved with the Club. 4) home-grown and 5) how the Arsenal is so desperately in need of a creative player able to roam across midfield and link-up with the forwards.
I would find it difficult to understand such a deal, especially at this point in time, and I would start wondering how deep our financial troubles are or how truly incompetent our technical staff, or whether the player has expressed the desire to leave.
I don’t really believe that Emile Smith Rowe would push for a move away from the Club that nurtured him, so I’d have to go with any of the first two options, with a penchant for the second one.
Hopefully everything will be resolved soon and Emile Smith Rowe will sign a new deal but there are some red flags which are difficult to ignore, the same ones that were raised when Bukayo Saka’s and Folarin Balogun’s new deals took ages to be finalized.
Is the Arsenal still a dream to play for? Why are the players, even the youngsters, so hesitant to put pen to paper?
Thirty-something Italian, currently in Switzerland. Gooner since mid-ninties, when the Gunners defeated my hometown team, in Copenhagen. Twelve years ago I started my own blog (www.clockenditalia.com) after after some experiences with Italian websites and football magazines. Debate, don’t insult or you’re out.