Arsenal appear to have finally given the number 10 shirt a new home – by handing it to Emile Smith Rowe.
The Gunners are yet to confirm if Smith Rowe, who wore 34 last campaign, will officially be wearing the number next season.
But the midfielder has been spotted wearing an Arsenal tracksuit sporting the number while up in Edinburgh with the rest of the Gunners team for pre-season training.
The number 10 shirt has been vacant at Arsenal for the past six months after its previous owner Mesut Ozil cut short his contract with the north London club during the January transfer window and signed for Fenerbahce.
Ozil inherited the number back in 2018 after Jack Wilshere’s contract expired and he left the club for West Ham.
Emile Smith Rowe has been the subject of transfer interest this summer with Aston Villa testing Arsenal’s resolve with two bids.
The first offer was said to have been in the region of £25million before the Villans came back with an improved £30million.
Arsenal rejected both bids for the Englishman, with Gunners manager Mikel Arteta later telling the press: “Without a question. He will stay here. 100 per cent.”
Arsenal are expected to sign a creative midfielder this summer following Martin Odegaard’s return to Real Madrid after his successful loan spell in north London last season.
But Smith Rowe potentially being handed the number 10 shirt at Arsenal suggests the midfielder will have a bigger part to play at the club next season.
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Arsenal lost their opening pre-season friendly in Scotland to Hibernian, who beat them 2-1.
Arteta said of the result: “Well I’m always disappointed when we lose a football match but it is the first game, we played with many kids and we only had four training sessions. We’ve trained really hard and you could see that the players were a little bit leggy.
“I think we conceded the first goal, an accident, and the second goal was clearly offside. We created many, many chances but we didn’t score. That’s what pre-season is for, to take the things that we haven’t done well into a training session and then improve.”