football.london understands that the Gunners’ hierarchy communicated their plans to Smith Rowe, who will be among the first tranche of players to join pre-season training on August 14, and his representatives in talks earlier this week in which they indicated their expectation that he would play a prominent role in the 2020/21 season.
Arteta has made no secret of his eagerness to blood Smith Rowe into his setup and believes that even if he would play more minutes on loan elsewhere the best environment for him to develop will be at London Colney.
“I am excited to work with him,” Arteta said of Smith Rowe last month. “I have been talking with him and I have followed him during his spell on loan. I think he’s someone who can be pretty impressive.”
Both Arteta and the Arsenal transition team – which includes technical director Edu, assistant head coach Freddie Ljungberg and academy chief Per Mertesacker – envisage Smith Rowe as a long-term option at No.10 or as a No.8 in the 4-3-3 that the head coach intends to utilise as his base formation.
Clubs in the Premier League and Europe have expressed interest in loaning Smith Rowe, who spent the second half of last season on loan with Championship side Huddersfield and has also been loaned to German giants RB Leipzig.
The only potential scenario that could prompt Smith Rowe to consider a further loan this summer would be if Arsenal were to be successful in their pursuit of both Philippe Coutinho and Willian. The Gunners are increasingly confident of securing the latter to the three year contract that Chelsea will not offer but have insisted that the former is not a player they are currently engaged in talks over.
Meanwhile Arsenal are preparing to loan out several of their top academy talents, including highly-rated young striker Tyreece John-Jules. The 19-year-old spent the second half of last season with League One Lincoln but attracted interest from Championship clubs.
John-Jules’ temporary departure will open up a centre forward vacancy in Arsenal’s Under-23 side with Folarin Balogun likely to make a permanent departure from the Gunners, who are demanding around £8million from suitors who include Brentford, Southampton and several Bundesliga sides.
Matt Smith, a regular on Arteta’s bench after the Premier League’s restart, is also expected to spend next season out on loan.*