West Ham have had “discussions” with Arsenal about Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe, according to ExWHUEmployee.
The insider told the West Ham Way that initial talks were held over a deal for Nelson but, when it became apparent that the winger wasn’t looking to leave the Gunners, the Hammers turned their attention towards Smith Rowe:
“There was some interest in Reiss Nelson of Arsenal although he seems reluctant to leave, during these discussions another Arsenal midfielder in Emile Smith-Rowe came up and as now emerged as a target.”
West Ham’s pursuit of Smith Rowe has subsequently been confirmed by numerous other sources, including Fabrizio Romano, so a move for the England international has legs.
Why are West Ham considering an offer for Smith Rowe?
It was believed that the Irons were in the market for a winger, and that is backed up by Ex’s claim that the club initially made enquiries for Nelson.
However, Smith Rowe can play on the flanks in addition to playing in central positions. That means he could cover for Lucas Paqueta, who is sidelined with a calf injury until March, as well as offering an option out wide. Manager David Moyes will be solving two problems in one fell swoop.
Smith Rowe’s fitness record is a concern
The 23-year-old has had his fair share of injuries over the past couple of years. He had groin surgery last season and he has spent over a month out this campaign with a knee problem.
Even so, Smith Rowe has still been fit and available for the vast majority of matches over the last 12 months. The main issue has been Mikel Arteta’s reluctance to play him. That means he could well be motivated to make a loan move this month. He will want to show what he can do on the pitch if he is given a chance to play.