Emile Smith Rowe must ask Mikel Arteta serious questions about his role at Arsenal as Edu negotiates the transfer to Emirates Stadium of creative Gremio midfielder Bitello.

The Gunners have moved fast to secure some early signings this summer as Arteta strives to build on last season. Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice have joined Arsenal ahead of their return to the Champions League. But sporting director Edu is still busy in the market.

Reports by TuttoMercatoWEB earlier this week suggested that Bitello was now on the verge of leaving Gremio for Arsenal. Edu had successfully brought down the Brazilian Serie A side’s price tag from €10m (£8.5m) to €8m (£7m). He also edged interest from a few Italian teams.

Gremio v Coritiba - Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A 2023
Photo by Richard Ducker/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Why Pele Is Overrated.

Arsenal’s transfer with Gremio for Bitello is at risk

But TuttoMercatoWEB has since reported that Arsenal’s transfer with Gremio for Bitello has stalled. Talks between the Porto Alegre outfit and the north London giant have hit a delay in recent days. The pause in the 23-year-old’s move has also generated new interest at Torino.

Il Toro are now considering hijacking Arsenal’s transfer with Bitello’s switch to north London in some jeopardy. Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino chiefs, like Edu, admire what the Formosa do Oeste native could deliver if brought to Europe. He has never yet played outside of Brazil.

Bitello has developed a reputation as a creative presence in Brazilian’s first and second tiers over the past two years. He offered seven goals and three assists in 36 Serie B games during the 2022 campaign. Bitello has since offered three goals in 14 Serie A games so far this year.

Smith Rowe must ask Arteta some stern questions

Arsenal FC v Manchester United - Pre-Season Friendly
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Should Edu overcome the impasse in his talks with Gremio for Bitello’s transfer, Smith Rowe could find himself facing another season on the fringes at Arsenal. The 23-year-old only got 14 outings across all competitions through the 2022/23 campaign for a total of 195 minutes.

Injuries helped to limit his availability but Smith Rowe remained in Arteta’s matchday squad uninterrupted from February 18. Yet he played in just seven of a possible 16 Premier League games during that period. He also did not start a single game despite laying on two assists.

The arrival of Bitello may only enhance Smith Rowe’s challenge to regain a prominent place in Arteta’s plans. Both can play in various central and wide midfield roles and give a creative presence. So, Smith Rowe – who Jamie Carragher has called ‘special’ – must chase answers.

Related Topics