Arsenal star could offer surprise solution to centre-forward problem, hints Mikel Arteta

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Mikel Arteta has hinted that Emile Smith Rowe could be the answer to Arsenal’s lack of depth up front. 

Smith Rowe has mainly operated as an attacking midfielder or winger for Arsenal in his career so far, but he moved into double figures for goals this season after scoring against Brentford on Saturday.

Speaking after their victory over Brentford at the weekend, Arteta said, as quoted by the Metro: “He can play as a left winger, he can play as a left attacking midfielder, right attacking midfielder and he can play as a nine – very, very well I think.”

With Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah’s contracts expiring in the summer, there is opportunity for the likes of Smith Rowe to step up if Arsenal fail in their attempts to sign a striker, like they did in January.

Bukayo Saka Emile Smith Rowe Arsenal

With the fine form of Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard, there is competition for places in the positions behind the striker. The young Englishman has the highest goal conversion rate of all Arsenal’s forward players with 37% and is currently their top goal scorer this season. This shows he certainly knows where the net is and his trickery, ball retention and finishing ability could be the answer to Arteta’s forward issues, at least temporarily.

Arsenal are being linked with moves for the likes of Lautaro Martinez (as per Todo Fichajes) and Alvaro Morata (as per Tuttomercatoweb), but as we saw with their pursuit of Dusan Vlahovic, it’s not always that simple to secure the signatures of these sought after players. Arteta may be tempted to look in-house for options if the main targets aren’t available.

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