Arsenal starlet Emile Smith Rowe has been used sparingly in recent weeks by manager Mikel Arteta, as the Spaniard has stumbled upon a winning XI.
And now, Smith Rowe could feature even less in the starting line-up for Arsenal, despite a blistering start to the season – as the Gunners target Philippe Coutinho on a short-term loan.
The Brazilian, by trade, is an attacking midfielder or left-winger who likes to cut inside and drift in the same spaces as Smith Rowe. Though Arsenal don't have a desperate need for that kind of player – Gabriel Martinelli has been playing on the left for Arsenal – rumours persist that Coutinho has met with the club's officials.
Some Gooners have been left puzzled as to what the signing of the Barcelona flop could mean for their academy graduate, whose other main threat for a place in the side – Martin Odegaard – has been nominated for Premier League Player of the Month alongside Martinelli.
The answer, in fact, is probably simpler than it sounds.
Arsenal have no reported interest in a clause that would allow them to purchase Coutinho. Should the Brazilian move to the Emirates, a short-term loan would be the only possible outcome for all parties.
Though Arteta would no doubt like a little more depth in attack – with the only other senior winger being the underwhelming Nicolas Pepe – it is possible that either Coutinho or Smith Rowe could be used deeper in the side.
Arteta himself was a no.10 who adapted to play a deeper midfield role as he grew older; the Basque boss has already moved Odegaard into his midfield trio and over the course of the last two seasons, turned Dani Ceballos into a similar kind of pressure.
Smith Rowe has stated in the past his ambition to remain a one-club man.
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