Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe Will Have to Wait '2 or 3 Weeks' for RB Leipzig Debut

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal controls the ball  during the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Arsenal and Sporting CP at Emirates Stadium on November 8, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Arsenal fans face a lengthy wait before they see how exciting youngster Emile Smith Rowe fares on loan at RB Leipzig.

The Bundesliga club's manager, Ralf Rangnick, has revealed that he's going to be patient with the 18-year-old, who moved to Leipzig during the January transfer window:

Ironically, Smith Rowe, who arrived in Germany with a hip injury, may see a familiar face once he makes it onto the pitch for his new club, according to James Benge of Football.London:

Arsenal fans will be hopeful Smith Rowe can match Reiss Nelson's initial success in the German top flight. The latter has helped himself to six league goals while making 20 appearances in all competitions for Hoffenheim.

It's proving to be an invaluable learning spell for 19-year-old Nelson, who was introduced to the Gunners first team by Arsene Wenger last season. However, Nelson needed more playing time and the loan move came at the right moment, with Unai Emery succeeding Wenger back in the summer and working to put his own stamp on the north London club.

Smith Rowe's situation is similar to Nelson's and Arsenal supporters are likely to find the wait for his start in Leipzig a frustrating experience, given the promise the teenager has already shown this season.

Nelson has flourished since leaving Arsenal on loan.
Nelson has flourished since leaving Arsenal on loan.Simon Hofmann/Getty Images
Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Emery used cup competitions to get Smith Rowe some first-team experience before his loan move. It was a useful ploy that yielded enticing examples of impish skill and a keen eye for goal.

Smith Rowe scored three times across UEFA Europa League and Carabao Cup action. Contributions like those naturally have Arsenal fans excited about what could come from the club's latest academy graduate.

But Leipzig have made light of the fervour from Gunners supporters surrounding Smith Rowe:

A little patience will be worth it, with Arsenal taking a calculated approach to sending Smith Rowe to Germany until the end of the season. Benge noted in January how Emery considers the player a "building block of the future."

A temporary stay in the Bundesliga makes sense considering the division is fast becoming a proving ground for some of England's brightest young talents. Aside from Nelson, Jadon Sancho has been a major success since leaving Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund.

Sancho has talked up the chances on offer to burgeoning talents:

Arsenal won't want Smith Rowe to get too attached to life in Germany, though. Not when he can become a key part of Emery's first-team setup in the very near future.

The creative department in Emery's squad will need restocking sooner rather than later. Aaron Ramsey is joining Serie A giants Juventus on a free transfer at the end of the season, while Emery has been reluctant to trust natural No. 10 Mesut Ozil too often.

Ozil, who is Arsenal's highest earner, could move on during a summer when goalkeeper Petr Cech is set to retire and striker Danny Welbeck faces being released, per Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail

Mokbel noted how Emery may be given just £45 million to spend on transfers, a situation likely to make the Gunners more reliant on young talents from the academy.

Arsenal are facing an inevitable overhaul in the attacking areas of midfield.
Arsenal are facing an inevitable overhaul in the attacking areas of midfield.Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Smith Rowe and Nelson could save Arsenal a fortune by offering Emery replacements for Ramsey and Ozil, as well as alternatives to 30-year-old Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Yet much will depend on how well Smith Rowe fares in Germany, with Arsenal surely hoping he performs at least as well as Nelson.