Arsenal signing Trossard could see Arteta activate ‘Smith Rowe plan’

Mikel Arteta sees little margin for error if Arsenal are to become champions

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Arsenal look set to sign Brighton outcast Leandro Trossard after reportedly agreeing a £27million deal with the Seagulls. And their move for the 28-year-old winger could now activate Mikel Arteta’s plan to utilise Emile Smith Rowe in a central midfield role.

Arsenal have stormed to the top of the Premier League table after winning 15 of their 18 matches this campaign. Earlier this month they appeared to be frontrunners to sign Mykhaylo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk but ultimately missed out on the Ukrainian as Chelsea hijacked the deal.

The Gunners have since turned their attentions to Trossard as they look to bolster their attack in their quest for silverware. And the arrival of the Belgium international would give Arteta another option on the left wing, with Gabriel Martinelli impressing this campaign.

One player who has struggled for game time this season is Smith Rowe. The 22-year-old returned to action earlier this month after missing four months of the season following groin surgery. But he failed to start any of the matches he was available for at the start of the campaign due to the fine form of Martinelli.

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According to CBS Sports, during pre-season Arsenal intended to test Smith Rowe in one of the central midfield roles that Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard have made their own. In fact, coaches at the club have long viewed the player’s development endpoint in a more central position. And the arrival of Trossard could pave the way for Arteta to start Smith Rowe’s transition to the centre of the pitch.

Smith Rowe came off the bench for the last 15 minutes of Arsenal’s FA Cup victory over Oxford last week and also appeared as a late substitute against Tottenham at the weekend after last playing at the start of September.

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And following his cameo appearance against Oxford, the ace said: “It’s great to be back on the pitch with my team-mates – I am just going to kick on from here. A lot of people might not know, but I have had this [groin] injury since I was 18 or 19. It has been quite hard to deal with it over the years.

“But I am really happy that it is just finally over. I had a successful surgery and I am really feeling really good. It was the exact same pain from back when I was [on loan] at [RB] Leipzig, which has been quite hard to manage.

“Obviously a lot of people might not know about that from over the years. But I am just happy to come out the other side fully fit. It has been difficult being out for this long. I don’t think I have had this long a lay-off before.”

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