Premier League • England

Promising Arsenal talent headlines six-strong potential departures list ahead of ‘very expensive summer’

Emile Smith Rowe, Granit Xhaka, Eddie Nketiah, Arsenal, April 2022

Emile Smith Rowe is one of six stars that Arsenal will reportedly ‘try to sell’ as they prepare for a ‘very expensive summer’.

Last season, Smith Rowe burst through as one of the Gunners’ most promising young talents. Indeed, he finished the season with 10 goals and two assists in the league.

That followed his introductory season in the Premier League, in which he was directly involved in six goals in 20 games.

After his exploits last season, he was awarded the no.10 shirt. That in itself is a statement that manager Mikel Arteta thinks he’s going to be one of the club’s main talents for years to come.

He’s not been able to follow up his great season last term with more good performances.

Indeed, surgery on a groin injury has meant Smith Rowe has made just seven first-team appearances this season, playing a total of just 71 minutes.

When he does get back to full fitness, the great form he showed last season should mean he’s in line for a return to the first team. Arsenal are already top of the league, and could be in an even stronger position with another big talent to introduce.

However, reports suggest his time at the club could be coming to an end shockingly soon.

Smith Rowe could depart to fund ‘expensive’ summer

Indeed, a report from Calciomercato suggests the attacking-midfielder is one of six players Arsenal ‘will try to sell’.

That list contains: Smith Rowe, Kieran Tierney, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Folarin Balogun, Nuno Tavares and Granit Xhaka.

Those players are apparently on the chopping block as the Gunners get ‘ready for a very expensive transfer market’ in the summer. The report names Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo as potential incomings the Gunners could be clearing the decks for.

The amount of money that each of those six Arsenal players would bring in would vary. Smith Rowe would surely bring the most given his age and effectiveness in his as yet short top-flight career.

Balogun would also command a decent fee – the Gunners reportedly believe him to be worth £50million. Tierney is already in the thoughts of Newcastle United and would reportedly cost them £30million.

Smith Rowe departure unlikely

However, one could question how likely it is for some of those players to be offloaded. Lokonga and Tavares are both out on loan, so they could well be surplus to requirements.

Tierney seems like he could soon head out of the door amid a lack of game time. And Balogun – who has scored 15 goals in 24 Ligue 1 games this season – won’t want to return to the club to be the third-choice striker.

However, given how effective Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah have been this season, that might be how things pan out. As such, Arsenal could sanction his exit to make a decent sum and allow him to spread his wings.

Xhaka is reportedly going to be offered a new contract soon, though, so it’s unlikely Arsenal would let him go. Smith Rowe had one of the best breakout seasons of any Premier League player in recent memory.

As such, once he returns from injury, it would be a surprise if Arteta wanted anything other than to integrate him back into the squad so that he can put in some great performances once again.

So while the club might want to recoup some money before a big spend, that pair leaving seems unlikely.

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