The Portugal international was a team-mate of the young Gunners playmaker during his time on loan with RB Leipzig
Portugal international Bruma says he knew from the moment he first saw Emile Smith Rowe that the Arsenal youngster was heading for the top.
The two players were team-mates at RB Leipzig during the second half of the 2018-19 season, with Smith Rowe having moved to the Bundesliga outfit on loan during the January transfer window.
And for Bruma, who is now starring for Olympiacos and could come up against Smith Rowe when Arsenal visit the Greek champions on Thursday night , it is no surprise to see the Gunners starlet making an impact at first-team level in north London.
What’s been said?
Speaking exclusively to Goal ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League last-16 first-leg clash between Olympiacos and Arsenal in Athens , Bruma was full of praise for his former Leipzig team-mate.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” he said, when asked whether he was surprised at Smith Rowe’s sudden rise to prominence under Mikel Arteta since Christmas.
“At training and in matches we could see a lot of his skills and technique.
“Emile’s a great player. He can turn the match in one move and unbalance everything with his skills.
“He still has a lot to grow and to get better, but he’s at a great team and I wish him all the best. I want him to reach his full potential.”
What else did Bruma say about Smith Rowe?
Bruma hasn’t spoken to Smith Rowe since the youngster left Germany in 2019.
But the 26-year-old winger, who revealed that former Arsenal defender Sokratis has been dishing out secrets about the Gunners ahead of Thursday night’s game , is looking forward to catching up with his former Leipzig team-mate.
“We were actually good friends at Leipzig when he was there, so it’s going to be great to see him again on Thursday,” said the Portugal international.
“I could already see a bit of that when we were together at Leipzig, although of course not as much as we can all see now.
“He’s at a great club to grow and develop as a player.”
Will Smith Rowe be fit to face Olympiacos?
The Arsenal midfielder missed last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Burnley due to a hip problem suffered during the 3-1 win at Leicester City last month .
Mikel Arteta has played down fears around a long-term absence, however, saying that scans have shown that the injury is not significant.
Arsenal are hopeful the playmaker could be involved on Thursday night, but they will make a decision after their final training session before flying to Greece on Wednesday afternoon.