Arsenal

Mikel Arteta forced to make promise to Arsenal youngster after Chelsea transfer interest

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has made clear that Emile Smith Rowe’s future is still at the Emirates as far as he’s concerned despite recent interest from a number of Premier League outfits

Mikel Arteta has reassured Emile Smith Rowe that he still has a part to play in this Arsenal side despite finding first-team minutes hard to come by this season.

The 2021/22 season saw Smith Rowe become the star of the show for the Gunners, but fitness issues have plagued him ever since and as a result, the England international has fallen down the pecking order of what is a stacked midfield at the Emirates.

The likes of Martin Odegaard, Kai Havertz and Fabio Vieira are all seemingly above Smith Rowe in the pecking order, though not everyone among the Gunners fanbase agrees with the hierarchy of midfielders. This season has seen the Arsenal academy graduate start just once in six league appearances.

With a combined minutes total of 116 minutes, speculation has started surrounding Smith Rowe’s long-term future in north London. Though the majority of games have passed the 23-year-old by as an unused substitute, Arteta has made clear he has no plans to part ways any time soon.

Arsenal’s London rivals Chelsea were recently linked with a move for the former Huddersfield loanee, but the Blues have since diverted their attention elsewhere. Newcastle are the latest outfit to be touted with a transfer for Smith Rowe.

Pressed for comment on the recent reports, Arteta issued an emphatic response regarding whether Smith Rowe was ever up for sale. “That was never part of our plans,” the Gunners boss explained.

Arteta then discussed whether he would stand in the way of Smith Rowe should the midfielder seek out a new challenge. “This is a two-way conversation all the time with players,” he added.

“I love listening to them about how they are feeling, what is the best thing for them, or what they want to do. Because you really have to be aligned with them and how they are feeling and they have to feel important.

With Arsenal’s next outing coming in the form of an FA Cup third-round clash, albeit against title challengers Liverpool, there is a chance Arteta could opt to hand Smith Rowe a rare start on Sunday afternoon.

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