Arsenal squad photo raises eyebrows amid Mesut Ozil and Emile Smith Rowe questions
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Emile Smith Rowe's absence from Arsenal's official first-team photograph has been explained, while Mesut Ozil's inclusion has also raised eyebrows.
On Wednesday afternoon, the north Londoners shared snaps of their 2020-21 squad on their social media channels.
Ozil was one of the surprise inclusions, with the midfielder featuring in the first-team snap despite being out of favour under Mikel Arteta.
It left many wondering why the German playmaker was included and eagle-eyed Gooners were also quick to notice Smith Rowe wasn't included in the photograph, which prompted plenty of questions.
The attacking midfielder's omission, however, wasn't intentional. In fact, there's a very simple explanation from him not featuring in the photo.
Emile Smith Rowe was absent from Arsenal's 2020-21 squad photograph
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On the same day the photograph was taken, Smith Rowe was starring in Arsenal's Under 23's 6-0 win over Blackburn – in which he scored a brace.
Smith Rowe, 20, has yet to feature for Arsenal's first-team this season, prompting suggestions he could be loaned out in January.
Huddersfield Town were eager to reacquire his services in the summer but were unable to land their man.
The Championship outfit are open to pursuing his signature in January, with club chairman Phil Hodgkinson recently saying: “We did enquire about some without a shadow of a doubt.
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil (L) with Emile Smith Rowe (R)
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“We’d already made it clear to Arsenal before the end of the season that if Emile Smith Rowe was available we wanted him but they wanted him in their first-team squad.
“It’s a very very different market at the moment.
"That may change in January and we’ll continue to look at that, and as always if it’s the right player and the right deal then we’ll absolutely consider it.”
Arsenal's 2020-21 squad photo was released much later than usual, with the club normally sharing it with fans after transfer deadline day.
"Traditionally, we usually have the men's first team photocall after transfer deadline day in September but of course we had to postpone that this year", Arsenal's Head of Communications, Dan Tolhurst, said.
"This year we're doing it slightly differently. We're shooting from a cherry picker, all the players are going to be socially distanced.
This is because this time will be out of the player's usual training schedule."
Arsenal will be back in action on Sunday afternoon, travelling to Elland Road to take on Leeds United.