Arsenal never miss a marketing opportunity. by Dan Smith
They timed confirmation of Smith Rowe’s contract extension with the reveal of his new shirt number.
There’s a reason why our British players are the ones that are asked to model merchandise.
Fans are most likely to associate with either talent who have grown up at the club and/or those who grew up with the Gunners as one of biggest names in the UK, less inclined than foreign players to want to move elsewhere.
Gooners are going to relate to someone who has been part of the set up since 9 years old and will want ‘one of their own’ to succeed.
By giving him the iconic number 10 shirt, Arsenal have hope this could be their highest sold jersey this summer. Number 10, by most supporters, is associated with the squad’s most creative flair player.
While I’m happy the 20-year-old is staying and happy his employers are showing so much belief, the choice of number could be a worrying indication. It’s the clearest sign yet that Arteta has zero intention of bringing in another attacking midfielder.
Our manager tried to improve that position by loaning Odegaard in January but it seems unlikely we can make a long-term deal for the Norwegian.
Aouar is being linked for the second summer transfer window and there have been rumours of a potential bid for Maddison.
Giving Smith-Rowe Ozil’s number has me worried that too much pressure is going to be put on young shoulders.
That’s not to say he’s not good enough to rise to the occasion but it’s putting a lot of responsibility on someone with little experience.
After our worst League finish in 25 years there will be a lot of attention on how we start the season. A slow start to the campaign will mean a spotlight on Smith Rowe, especially if the team are not making chances.
We are yet to know if he can mentally cope with that expectation.
For all the plaudits, he has just 2 goals in 22 Prem fixtures.
If we are serious about catching up with the top 4 (and that’s a big if), can we manage that with a 20-year-old as our sole creative source?
In reality he needs help.
So while I’m delighted Smith Rowe has committed his future to us, I’m hoping him wearing the number 10 shirt doesn’t mean what I think it does?
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