Mikel Arteta discusses Emile Smith Rowe request before signing new Arsenal deal
Mikel Arteta reveals that Emile Smith Rowe asked for the number 10 shirt during his Arsenal contract negotiations
Mikel Arteta believes that Emile Smith Rowe’s request to be handed the number 10 shirt at Arsenal highlights his ambition at The Emirates after the midfielder signed a new long-term contract with the club.
Smith Rowe put pen to paper on a new and improved deal with the Gunners on Thursday after weeks of speculation before the move.
Arsenal did not officially announce the length of the deal, but it is understood that Smith Rowe’s new contract will run for five years and will expire in the summer of 2026.
Smith Rowe was handed the prestigious number 10 shirt at The Emirates ahead of the new season and Arteta has revealed that the 20-year-old midfielder made the request for the jersey during his contract negotiations.
Speaking in an interview with Arsenal’s website, Arteta said: “I think he totally deserves that new contract, he has earned every right to be in the position where the club had to think about rewarding what he has done and he has shown his commitment to the football club.
“So when that relationship builds in the way that it is getting, that is a really strong and powerful message for everybody. We want and I want hungry, talented [players] who play with huge desire and Emile fits all of that.
“If that is the case and you are on board and you show that commitment, desire, quality and talent every single day, you are at the right club at the right moment, and I think Emile feels the same way.
“He asked for [the No 10 shirt], so that shows you the ambition and desire. I prefer players who ask for more than maybe they can take but if they believe they can do it, don’t put a limit on it.
“When he asked me and asked the club that he would like to get that [number], OK, let’s go.
“We talked a little bit, we discussed it and he knows the consequences of that, but he feels prepared to do it and if he is prepared to do it, then I am going to be right behind him to try to make him as comfortable and as happy as possible to do what he wants to do.”
Smith Rowe enjoyed something of a breakthrough season with Arsenal last term and he scored two goals and made four assists in 20 Premier League games for the Gunners as they ended up in eighth place in the table.
He will be expecting to feature when Arsenal kick off their Premier League campaign with a trip to Brentford on 13 August.