Premier League rivals Southampton and Fulham are keen to sign Emile Smith-Rowe on loan from Arsenal in the final few days of the transfer window, according to Football London.
If one of the most talented homegrown prospects in British football is not going to feature regularly at the Emirates with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe and Willian all competing for a starting berth under Mikel Arteta, then a short-term spell away could be the making of him.
Particularly under a coach like Ralph Hasenhuttl – man who turned Timo Werner, Naby Keita and Emile Forsberg into top-class attackers at RB Leipzig.
The Southampton boss, with his high-octane style and rapid transitions, certainly feels like the perfect mentor for a player with Smith-Rowe’s technical and physical gifts, after all.
Arsenal may be a little less enamoured by the prospect of sending the London-born 20-year-old to Craven Cottage, however.
Fulham already look like favourites for relegation after losing all three games thus far by an aggregate score of 10-3. The Cottagers also signed another winger, Ademola Lookman, on a loan deal this week.
Smith-Rowe exploded on to the scene with a series of eye-catching performances under Unai Emery but has found first-team minutes hard to come by under Arteta.
That is not to say the Spaniard does not rate the Arsenal youngster very highly, however.
“He’s a player with very specific qualities to play in those pockets in that position as an attacking midfielder,” Arteta told Sky.
“I am excited to work with him. I think he’s someone who can be pretty impressive.”
Smith-Rowe offered a tantalising glimpse into his vast potential during a spell at Huddersfield Town last season. His forceful attacking displays were perhaps the main reason why the Terriers managed to avoid successive relegations.
Southampton may now step up their pursuit after agreeing a £13.6 million deal for Brest midfielder Ibrahima Diallo (Mail).
Arsenal’s record transfer deals