Arsenal and West Ham are in talks over the loan signing of midfielder Emile Smith Rowe this month.
The Gunners have so far endured a quiet winter window, and the unfathomable link to Karim Benzema was shut down on Friday morning. The chances of any new arrivals joining the club before the deadline currenly looks slim given the lack of movement, but there could be one or two heading out the door.
Veterans Cedric Soares and Mohamed Elneny, who's currently at AFCON with Egypt, have both been linked with departures, although neither play a particularly significant on-pitch role for Mikel Arteta's side.
And while Smith Rowe has struggled once again for minutes this term, his departure, even if it's only a loan, would be notable.
Arsenal in talks with West Ham over Emile Smith Rowe loan
The news sprung out of nowhere on Friday with Fabrizio Romano confirming the report first broken by @ExWHUEmployee on X.
Romano writes that the Hammers have approached Arsenal about Smith Rowe, with talks underway regarding the structure of a potential loan deal. The Gunners are unlikely to let the Englishman leave permanently this month, although an option to buy could be inserted into the deal.
While talks are said to be ongoing, Sky Germany's Florian Plettenberg writes that even a loan deal is 'very unlikely' at this stage.
Arsenal are said to be keen on keeping the 23-year-old for the remainder of the season, even if he's only played a peripheral role this term. Smith Rowe has made just one Premier League start for the Gunners.
The creative midfielder still has plenty to give, however; whether that be in north or east London. While ESR struggled with injuries last season and has endured a setback in 2023/24 at an inopportune time, there's no doubt that the spritely Englishman is deserving of more minutes at the Emirates.
While Arteta has often been complimentary about the 23-year-old, he doesn't appear to trust the free spirit out of possession.
Given his diminished role over the past two seasons, a loan away, even if it's just for six months, would surely do Smith Rowe some good, especially if he's earning regular Premier League minutes. A permanent move, though, wouldn't make much sense for the club at this stage unless they were intent on bringing someone else in before the deadline.