‘Massive concern’ – Ian Wright worried Arsenal youngsters Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka could get poached by rival clubs

Arsenal ace Emile Smith Rowe celebrates his goal against West Brom in the Premier League with Bukayo Saka
Emile Smith Rowe volleyed home Bukayo Saka’s cross to open the scoring for Arsenal against West Brom (Picture: Getty)

Ian Wright says it’s a ‘massive concern’ that Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka could get snapped up by Arsenal’s rivals if the club are unable ‘match their progression’ over the coming seasons.

One of the few positives of Arsenal’s otherwise miserable campaign has been the development of academy products Smith Rowe, 20, and Saka, 19, who combined brilliantly to break the deadlock in the side’s 3-1 victory over West Brom on Sunday evening.

Smith Rowe’s stylish volley on the half-hour mark – his first ever goal in Premier League football – came after a threatening start from a Baggies team fighting for survival at the Emirates.

But Nicolas Pepe and Willian netted either side of Costa Pereira’s 67th-minute strike to secure the Gunners all three points and confirm West Brom’s immediate return to the Championship.

Arsenal 3 -1 West Brom: Mikel Arteta post-match press conference

Club legend Wright was particularly impressed with Smith Rowe’s display and challenged the England Under-21 international to contribute more goals to become the complete attacking midfielder.

‘It’s the one thing he wants to do, he wants to add more goals,’ Wright told Premier League Productions.

‘He’s been playing really well and he’s had chances in games and you can get a little bit down but the only thing left for him to do for his game – because he’s got everything: one touch, two touch, round the corner, pace – is to add more goals to his game.

‘Once he does that we’re talking about him and Saka, you’re hoping that Arsenal can match their progression because if they don’t then people will try and take them off of us.’

Arsenal legend Ian Wright looks on during England's clash with Norway
Arsenal great Wright is concerned Smith Rowe and Saka will get poached (Picture: Getty)

The ex-Arsenal and England striker is seriously worried the likes of Smith Rowe and Saka will jump ship unless the club begins to see major improvements in a number of areas.

Wright added: ‘It’s a massive concern.

‘A massive concern that Arsenal are able to sort out whatever is going on upstairs, with the manager, with the players that come in, whoever he is going to bring in to try to execute whatever game-plan he wants to do.

‘Because these guys are going to be a major part of that. If they can continue to play like they’re playing when you’re looking at how we’re playing now – and it’s not great – if we do not progress as quickly as these guys progress then you have to be worried about their ambitions and what they want to do because they’re fantastic players.’

Emile Smith Rowe celebrates scoring for Arsenal against West Brom
Smith Rowe’s goal was his first in the Premier League (Picture: Getty)

In his post-match interview with BT Sport, Smith Rowe said it was ‘important’ for Arsenal to come away with a morale-boosting win after a ‘difficult week’ which saw them knocked out of the Europa League by Unai Emery’s Villarreal.

‘We started a bit slow, our heads have been down for a couple of days,’ he admitted.

‘It was important for us to bounce back. I felt we got into the game in the second half and we are really happy with the three points.

‘It has been a dream playing for this club and to finally score my first goal – can’t be better.

‘It has been a difficult week but happy to get the three points.

‘It has been really difficult for us as a team, it is not nice to lose in the semi-final of a tournament, it is important we keep our heads up.”

Asked how much he enjoys playing alongside Saka, Smith Rowe replied: ‘So much, I was saying to him before that he had to assist me, I’ve assisted him a few times this season.

‘It was good to get the goal together. We are all going to fight for each other until the end.’

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