Emile Smith Rowe has been one of Arsenal’s biggest success stories in recent years.
After making his senior debut in September 2018 in the Europa League, the Hale End prodigy was forced to go out on loan to Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig and Championship side Huddersfield Town before finally making his breakthrough in 2020/21.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta threw him straight into the deep end with a start against arch-rivals Chelsea – and the rest has been history.
The electric attacking maestro provided an assist for fellow academy graduate Bukayo Saka to score the winner in a 3-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium back in December 2020.
He went on to end the season with four goals and seven assists across all competitions, proving to be a shining light as Arsenal missed out on European qualification for the first time in 25 years.
Smith Rowe was rewarded with a bumper five-year contract extension, worth £40k-per-week, in the summer and was handed the famed no.10 shirt, a number that the likes of Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Robin van Persie, Dennis Bergkamp and strangely William Gallas have all donned in north London.
As of October 2021, the 21-year-old is estimated to be valued at a whopping €70m (£60m), as per CIES Football Observatory.
He cost the Gunners absolutely nothing, having joined the Hale End system aged just ten in 2010, so it only goes to show just how meteoric his rise has been in the past 18 months or so, and largely, that comes down to Arteta’s faith and coaching.
Dubbed the ‘Croydon Kevin De Bruyne’ by his peers, Smith Rowe has received plenty of glowing praise in that time.
“Emile Smith Rowe is just a really lovely player, isn’t he?” once claimed his former Terriers boss Danny Cowley, who also added (via ExaminerLive): “He has that ability to find space; he could find space in a telephone box.”
Ex-Arsenal playmaker Ozil dubbed him “the difference maker”, whilst former Premier League legend Rio Ferdinand has also waxed lyrical about the Gunners star. “He’s been a breath of fresh air and a big positive under Arteta.”
At just 21, Smith Rowe’s value and ability are only going to skyrocket even more but so far, the Gunners have certainly struck gold, going by the above evidence.