Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe faces a £34million transfer problem this season. The 23-year-old again finds himself on the fringes and the performance of Fabio Vieira off the bench on Saturday will have done him no favours.
Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe is looking to put last season’s injuries behind him and push on
Smith Rowe hasn’t started a match for Arsenal in any competition since May 2022. He missed the first few months of last season following groin surgery and has been unable to work his way back into the team.
He was linked with a summer exit earlier in the window but an impressive European Under-21 Championship saw him return to Arsenal in a much better place than he ended the 2022/23 domestic campaign. Smith Rowe featured in pre-season and came off the bench in the Community Shield win over Manchester City.
However, he has not been seen on the field since. The 23-year-old has been an unused substitute for the first three Premier League matches of the campaign and question marks over his long-term future must be raised.
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Arsenal were in desperate need of inspiration off the bench on Saturday when they trailed Fulham 1-0. But it wasn’t Smith Rowe who Mikel Arteta turned to, instead calling on £34m-man Vieira.
Vieira had a difficult first season at Arsenal, making just three Premier League starts and often flattering to deceive in the Europa League. But Arteta clearly views him as higher than Smith Rowe in the pecking order.
Vieira didn’t just get the nod from Arteta, he also grabbed his opportunity with both hands. The Portuguese star won the penalty for Bukayo Saka’s equaliser before setting up Eddie Nketiah with a fine cross to put Arsenal into the lead.
Arsenal’s new kit for 2023/2024 is a stylish twist on a classic as it reinvents that mid-1990s vibe. A truly modern-looking shirt with a homage to the past, the Nike kit also includes a nod to the club’s iconic Invincible’s side in the finer details while catching the eye with the lightning bolt motif
Arteta was happy for Vieira that he was able to take his chance. He said: “With Fabio I’m delighted for him as well because he hasn’t played any minutes so far this season and to see a player that comes with that determination and that positiveness to this team and has the impact that he had, it’s difficult to see and really pleasing. I’m really happy for him as well.”
Smith Rowe will have been pleased to see Arsenal turn the game against Fulham on its head. But a large part of him will be wishing it was him, not Vieira, making the difference.
Arsenal threw away their hard work, conceding a late goal equaliser despite Fulham being down to 10 men. Vieira has given himself an outside chance of starting against Manchester United next weekend but Smith Rowe will be wondering when his next chance will come.