Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is considering ending his pursuit of a new creative midfielder after the emergence of academy starlet Emile Smith Rowe.
The 20-year-old, who has long been viewed as a player of huge potential at the Emirates Stadium, has exploded into life this year. He has started all three of Arsenal's recent Premier League victories, offering up two assists, while he also has two assists and a goal from three Europa League games.
It's no coincidence that Smith Rowe's introduction to the team has coincided with a return to form for Arsenal, and AS believe that Mikel Arteta has been so impressed with the midfielder that he is even prepared to alter his transfer strategy.
The report centres around Arteta's interest in Real Madrid outcast Isco, who has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates for a few months now. The boss was keen to move for Isco, but now sees Smith Rowe as a similar player and is not as desperate to splash out on a new midfielder as he once was.
Instead, Smith Rowe appears set to see plenty of opportunities to continue to grow, but it wouldn't come as a surprise to see Arsenal move for at least one other creator. There's nobody else in the squad to rotate with the youngster, who has just five Premier League appearances to his name.
High-profile additions like Isco, Inter's Christian Eriksen or Borussia Dortmund's Julian Brandt may now be off the table, as may a move for Celtic's Ryan Christie, whom 90min understands has been watched by the Gunners in recent weeks.
Since Smith Rowe's introduction to the team on Boxing Day, no player has attempted more dribbles for Arsenal than the Englishman, while only left-back Kieran Tierney has created more chances, and exiled playmaker Mesut Ozil recently took to Twitter to praise Smith Rowe's impact on this Arsenal side.
"Team looks good with a No10 like Emile Smith Rowe - the difference maker," Ozil wrote.
Arteta recently said of the midfielder (via Sky Sports): “He is a player that I really liked since the first day I watched him. Just the way he moves, how intelligent he is with the positions he takes and his work rate – don’t underestimate that.
"He works really hard for the team and he had a really bad injury this year and hasn’t really trained with us at all.
“For the last two weeks he has been much more involved and you can see what he can bring to the team. I am delighted to have a young player with his talent and in that position. It was something that we needed."
Source : 90min