Chelsea could get Arsenal payback with Smith Rowe swoop despite Arteta praise

Mauricio Pochettino praises Raheem Sterling after Chelsea's win against Luton

Chelsea are reportedly eyeing one more signing before the transfer window shuts on Friday as Mauricio Pochettino looks to exact revenge on Arsenal with a move for Emile Smith Rowe. The Blues have already made 10 signings this summer and their spending is set to continue as they make a last-gasp move to bring in an attacking player, with a three-man shortlist drawn up to solve the issues Pochettino has been facing.

Reports suggest the 23-year-old could be set to make a shock move from north to west London after growing frustrated with the lack of opportunities afforded to him by Mikel Arteta.

Smith Rowe is yet to feature in any of their Premier League matches this season despite being fully fit, with the summer arrival of Kai Havertz demoting him even further in the pecking order. And the chance to join Pochettino’s revolution at Stamford Bridge may be too tempting to turn down, even for a Hale End graduate like Smith Rowe.

With Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Havertz all in front of him, there won’t be many opportunities to revive his career at the Emirates after an injury-hit 2022-23 campaign – even if Arteta gushed in his praise of Smith Rowe at the tail end of last season.

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“He knows how much we love him, and we know how much we missed him and how much we need his qualities,” he said in March.

“Now he needs to prove it, he needs to prove how much he wants to win, and how much he’s going to contribute to this team to be better and win. And he’s going to have to show that to get in the team.”

The Blues have let a host of attacking players depart this summer as part of Todd Boehly’s huge £250million cull, whereby 19 players have been sold, loaned or released from the first team. Romelu Lukaku is set to follow Hakim Ziyech out the door as their final departures and it means that Chelsea have been left short in numbers, as well as squad depth.

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Their £53m star signing Christopher Nkunku picked up a knee injury in pre-season and will be out until December, while Armando Broja is only just coming back to full fitness from a serious ACL injury.

That leaves Nicolas Jackson, Raheem Sterling, Mykhaylo Mudryk and Noni Madueke as the only senior forwards available after Carney Chukwuemeka was ruled out too. And that has forced Pochettino to consider a new signing to add some experience to his squad.

After failing to convince Michael Olise to leave Crystal Palace this summer, time is running out for Chelsea to bring in another player to cover for Nkunku’s absence – and it appears the playmaker is seen as a viable option, according to a report from the Daily Mail.

Todd Boehly’s co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart are also weighing up approaches for Barcelona duo Ferran Torres and Raphinha as part of the three-man shortlist, as the pair could be set for a return to the Premier League in the final few days of the window.

Lyon winger Bradley Barcola has also emerged as a target for the Premier League side, but with PSG interested in the Frenchman, Pochettino could be forced to look closer to home if he wishes to strengthen his squad before the deadline passes.

And Smith Rowe could just be the ticket, although Arsenal would loathe to sell him to one of their rivals.

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