Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has insisted that Emile Smith Rowe will stay at the club despite strong interest from Aston Villa this summer.
The talented 20-year-old enjoyed an impressive season last year as he contributed seven goals and seven assists in 37 appearances across all competitions.
With a bright future at Arsenal expected, it would have been a surprise to see him opt to leave this summer, but Villa have made two bids for him, both of which have been rejected.
Arteta commented on the situation on Tuesday night and he is evidently clear in that he believes Smith Rowe will stay at Arsenal and refused to comment on Villa’s pursuit of his prized asset.
“Without a question. Yes. He (Smith Rowe) will stay here. 100 per cent,” he said, as quoted by The Athletic.
“No comment (when asked about Aston Villa’s bids).
As per the report above, it’s noted that Villa had a second bid of around £30m bid rebuffed by the Gunners, and while there has been a wait to see if the club would increase that offer and continue to pursue the talented youngster, Arteta’s latest comments would suggest that we could be wasting our time.
That said, Smith Rowe has yet to put pen to paper on a new contract, with his current deal set to expire in 2023. Until that happens, perhaps there will still be uncertainty over his future.
For now though, it would seem as though the sensible strategy from a Villa perspective would be to consider alternatives and move forward with our transfer plans and not sit still waiting for a possible Smith Rowe opening.
Villa have already signed Emiliano Buendia and Ashley Young this summer, and Dean Smith will no doubt hope that further reinforcements arrive before the new season gets underway in a month’s time.