Would Arsenal fans give up on Smith-Rowe and replace him with James Maddison?

If Emile Smith-Rowe was fit and in form this season, he would have been the man to deputise Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard, making Arteta able to rotate his midfield easily but even when fit the Boss preferred to put Fabio Vieira on the pitch in front of him.

With talks of Xhaka leaving, Arteta surely once expected the the Arsenal No 10 would have been his replacement. Smith-Rowe has not been himself this season; injuries and a lack of game time have seen him fail to have an impact for Arsenal and has been left on the bench even when fit to join the squad.

Many would have hoped that he would get his mojo back next season after a good preseason. But according to the Mirror, Mikel Arteta is thinking about moving on from the Hale End graduate.

They reckon that the Arsenal boss is considering offloading Smith Rowe and move to sign James Madison as his replacement, who is unlikely to stay at Leicester if they end up in the Championship. Arsenal has long been linked Maddison; they reportedly almost signed him in 2021. His brilliant playmaking ability has dazzled the Premier League fanatics for years.

There’s no doubt the Leicester man, who may be available on the cheap with the Foxes probably going tdown, could be a brilliant addition. But even so, is losing one of Arsenal’s promising prospects worth it? Smith Rowe is a player who could be a force to be reckoned with in years to come. Arteta should know that, but even so, where Arsenal are, they are past being patient; they need results now, so, as Arteta said, ruthless decisions must be made.

Who thinks this would be a sensible move by Arteta, as he hasn’t trusted Smith-Rowe at all this season?

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  1. I don’t see either of Smith-Rowe and Madison as worthy replacements for Xhaka. None of them has the kind of physical presence we need in that midfield.
    Aside creative ability, I think Arsenal should also be emphasizing some bit of physicality in that team. We need to be strengthening the team’s widely-acknowledged soft underbelly.

    1. I much agree about the teams massive need for increase physicality. And in ALL sections of the team too.


      1. Jon
        You mention that a lot.
        I looked up Vieira’s stats – height and weight and was very surprised. Not all players are giants or Mr Muscleman but at
        170cms – 5’7” and between 58-60kgs making him 9 stone 6lbs max that is decidedly on the diminutive side for a premier league player.
        Beth Mead is a similar weight and slightly taller as is Miedema.
        Kante although similar in height is a stone heavier but there is little difference in the stats between Lingard and Vieira.

        1. Hm Sue Yes, I do indeed often mentionhis weedfiness Byt IMO, weediness,while often being more common in small physique players, is not ALWAYS their fate.
          SOME , not too many but certainly SOME, smaller physique players have a warrior attitude and will “tackle and fight” giants.
          But our modern Viera, unlike his near namesake, who was both a physical and mental giant, is definitely NOT among them.

          Would you not agree?

          1. sorry Jon, just seen your post to Sue. My thoughts were not supposed to be a copy of yours.

        2. Sue I would have thought that Lingard became a bit bigger than that. When he did he was less good, possibly because of being out of form (or just past it). Weight is a funny thing when it comes to footy. When I was 10 stones 7 lbs, and 5’10”, I was thin as a rake, but tough as nails (though admittedly not a PL player). Could knock blokes much heavier than me, off there feet. Strength and the technique of a large well-timed tackle could do the trick.
          My all-time favourite British player was Alan Ball who was probably something like 5’7″ and less than ten stones when he was 18 and playing at the highest level in the ’66 World Cup Final. The thing with Vieira is not so much that he looks slight, it’s more that he doesn’t have much courage, mettle, strength. You’re right N’Golo Kante is small and also looks like a little child, but what a player he’s been.
          Sorry SueP I didn’t mean this to be about me, but you know how it goes !

            1. SueP – I could lyric on about Alan Ball, but it would just make me overly nostalgic. Most Arsenal fans, even the ones who saw him play wouldn’t think of him as an all-time great Gunner, but I do. He’d even get in my all-time Arsenal team ! There are reasons.

            2. Sorry Sue, I got Alan Ball’s age wrong. He was 21 in ’66. Just goes to show mistakes can be made.

          1. I don’t think Vieira lacks the stomach for the fight – I just think he’s been unable to cope with the speed of the game, and has been out of his depth.
            I haven’t given up on him, personally, because I think he has a killer pass in his locker that we’re yet to see – but it is make or break for him next season, assuming he stays.

            1. Davi – We have seen Vieira do something very good actually. An assist from the left hand side in a home game he played in earlier this season. At that point I thought he might come good, but we’ve seen nothing since. You may be right to suggest he needs more time, we’ll see if he’s given a chance.

  2. Madison would be signed to rotate Odegaard. I also think he could slot into Xhaxas position. With Declan Rice we have steel. ESR had chances. He played well. Thing is, the teams progressed & he has not. Sell.

    1. Madison can also play wide

      He would be an an excellent signing but no need to ditch Smith-Rowe. He needs to be judged next season that he will start injury free with a full pre season.

  3. I too have serious doubts about Maddison. He’s a bit of a show pony. Some talent but far too in love with himself for my liking. Good to love yourself but not at the cost of your team mates. He will go missing when the chips are down.
    Smith-Rowe is a mystery to me. Purple patch last season, then England call-up, then injury and never to return. Don’t know what to make of that. Arteta will need to explain.

    1. Martinelli took a long time to come back from his injury, it is the way Arteta prefers to work with young players.

      It does make sense. Wilshere was always rushed back and look what happened to him.

      1. Nabilo – It was a shame about Jack, but I think some of his injuries were due to the way he played. Yes, very skilfull and talented, but I felt he hung on to the ball too long and too often, which invited alot of heavy physical contact with opposition players that his body couldn’t deal with. Sometimes players like him have to be cognizant of the dangers they face, in order to avoid injury.

        1. Well said EG.
          I always called Wilshere”stupidly brave”

          . I love courage but not if its a stupid courage.

  4. Personally, I wouldn’t swap ESR for Madison. There’s a reason why they call him the Croydon De bruyne. He’s that good when fit. We already have Odegaard for that position and there’s no one in this team with Smith Rowe’s ability except for maybe Partey and Xaka who’s on his way out. I say keep Emile and sell Viera if you have to sell anyone.

    1. I’d also prioritise ESR over the others you’ve mentioned as well. Main reason for me is that he truly plays for the shirt – it has been most evident in the London derbies he’s played in.
      He’s already proven he has a lot to offer, so it’s just about keeping him fit and arteta figuring out how to make him work in the system he wants to play. I very much hope that happens!

  5. Maddison is a playmaker like Odegaard and in physical terms we cannot afford the luxury of two such players in the team .All this talk of ESR being trained to take over from Xhaka is I suspect nonsense .They are not remotely similar with ESR being a free running wide operator whilst the one paced Xhaka is a left sided central midfielder.This year he has been moved to a more advanced position by Arteta to accommodate Zinchenko in the so called “inverted LB” role, and while Xhaka has done well until recently the tactic has left far too much space in our left defence area which teams such as Southampton and Bournemouth have fully exploited..If Rice or Caicedo are signed I hope to goodness Arteta does not contemplate using them in roles which are foreign to them.They are both terrific athletical central midfielders and should be used accordingly.

  6. I like Smith Rowe he’s a very likable young man and I do enjoy watching him in his pomp. At the same time, Arteta will have to get ruthless at times if he ever envisions passing by the mighty Pep. I’m in two minds on this one, not over Madison just wanting SR and AFC to succeed

  7. Wishere’s injury riddled career was partly due to his smoking habit. No proffesional player who wants a long & succesfull career should ever contemplate the idea of smoking. Its so damaging as it puts u in an immediate disadvantage regarding lung capacity, body healing, etc.

    Wrt ESR i say keep him. He is an absolute marvel to watch when cutting in frm the left and always has the calmness to look up b4 passing to a team mate. Could also be used on the right as a Saka backup.

    1. Not nurturing ESR would be a betrayal of all that Hale End atands for all he needs is a chance look at his performance prior to op

  8. I wouldn’t take Maddison, he is creative, but that’s not the position Arsenal need to fill in Midfield. To me quickly sign Rice and Caicedo, with Xhaka being sold Arsenal’s midfield into the new season would be: Partey, Odegaard, Smith-Rowe, Caicedo, Jorginho, Vieira, Elneny and Rice. The only concern is Vieira but I’d give him another year to test him. My starting 3 Rice and Odegaard as “8’s” and Caicedo in the holding “6” role. Defensive reinforcement is my biggest concern since I can’t think of someone who I think would fit perfectly/

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