Arsenal academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe was sought after by Huddersfield on another loan deal but the Gunners refused as they wanted him in their first-team squad, Phil Hodgkinson has told Examiner Live.
The 19-year-old is considered one of the best young talents at the Emirates Stadium and made six appearances for the Gunners across the Europa League, League Cup and Premier League last season.
In January, Smith Rowe joined Huddersfield on loan until the end of the season and enjoyed a fruitful spell at the John Smith’s Stadium, making 18 Championship appearances and claiming two goals and three assists.
His efforts helped the Terriers survive the drop, ultimately finishing three points clear of the bottom three, with the victory over West Brom in the penultimate game – in which he netted a late winner – especially crucial.
In conversation with Examiner Live, Hodgkinson spoke of his interest in bringing Smith Rowe back on loan, but Arsenal had other plans.
“There weren’t as many players available for loan,” said Huddersfield chairman. “We did enquire about some without a shadow of a doubt.
“We’d already made it clear to Arsenal before the end of the season that if Emile Smith Rowe was available we wanted him but they wanted him in their first-team squad.”
With each passing day, Mesut Ozil’s future at Arsenal looks more and more uncertain, and aside from Arteta rating Smith Rowe very highly, there have been other hints suggesting he could one day dethrone the German as the club’s No. 10.
Football London recently claimed that, in Smith Rowe, “Arsenal already have their Mesut Ozil successor amid creativity concerns in Mikel Arteta’s squad”, not to mention the youngster enjoys playing at No. 10 the most and idolises the 2014 World Cup winner.
And with Arsenal seemingly refusing loan offers as they have him in their first-team plans, maybe we’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the coming months.