Arteta ‘teaches’ Arsenal outcast to play new role with Aston Villa target is in line to replace £13m man

·2-min read
Arsenal midfielder Smith Rowe Credit: Alamy
Arsenal midfielder Smith Rowe Credit: Alamy

Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell thinks Emile Smith Rowe “will stay” at the club beyond this summer and he reckons he will be a key player next season.

The Englishman enjoyed a breakout season for Arsenal in 2021/22. He scored ten Premier League goals that term as the Gunners mounted a challenge for the top four.

It was hoped that the midfielder would kick on this season but he has endured a stop-start campaign under Mikel Arteta. He is yet to start in the Premier League this term as he has struggled with a groin injury.

Smith Rowe is being heavily linked with a move away from Arsenal ahead of this summer’s transfer window. He is understood to be ‘wanted’ by Aston Villa head coach Unai Emery.

Artets is expected to let a few of his players before next season. Despite his impressive performances this season, Granit Xhaka is likely to join Bayer Leverkusen in a deal worth around £13m. 

Campbell has heard that Arsenal’s coaching staff are “teaching Smith Rowe the Xhaka role” so he expects the 22-year-old to remain at the club.

“He stays, I think Emile Smith Rowe stays,” Campbell told Highbury Squad.

“I think Smith Rowe has to stick to one position. I know he can play a couple, but he needs to say ‘I want to be a number eight’ for example, and that’s his position.

“He can play here, there or anywhere. If you bring in a specialist they will play.

“Rumour has it that they’re teaching him the Xhaka role, so we don’t know, it’s been one of those seasons.”

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Speaking earlier this year, Gunners head coach Arteta insisted that Smith Rowe “knows how much we love him”.

“He knows how much we love him, and we know how much we missed him and how much we need his qualities,” Arteta said.

“And now he needs to prove it, he needs to prove how much he wants to win, and how much he’s going to contribute to this team to be better and win. And he’s going to have to show that to get in the team.

“I think we have to manage his load, but for sure he’s in a position where we can throw him in the team at any moment.

“And then it’s about how he’s coping with the team in general and whether we have to take him off or to use him in the last few minutes of the game.”

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