Athletic: Aston Villa see second Smith Rowe bid worth £30m rejected by Arsenal

Aston Villa have reportedly had a second bid worth £30m for Emile Smith Rowe rejected by Arsenal.

Smith Rowe, 20, enjoyed a key breakthrough last season as he continues to establish himself in the Arsenal senior squad, bagging four goals and seven assists in 33 appearances across all competitions.

READ MORE: Five reasons why Jack Grealish isn’t leaving Aston Villa this summer

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Given his talent and potential, it’s expected that he will be a key figure for the Gunners moving forward, but speculation over his future refuses to go away.

Villa see £30m Smith Rowe bid rejected

As per The Athletic, Villa have returned after having an initial £25m bid rejected, and have raised their offer to £30m. However, they have received the same response from Arsenal and have seen that bid rebuffed.

It’s added that the north London outfit are insisting that Smith Rowe isn’t for sale, but it’s intriguing as to what indication may have been given to Villa to warrant them returning with a second bid.

Contract ploy? Indication given to Villa?

The midfielder’s current contract expires in 2023, and so naturally, the theory is perhaps that this is a ploy from his representatives to force more money out of Arsenal at the negotiating table.

While that may be true, it seems like a waste of time for Villa to come back with an improved offer unless it was suggested to them that it could be worthwhile, and so time will tell if that’s the end of the pursuit or if the club return with a third offer to continue to test Arsenal’s resolve.

Importantly, it’s added by David Ornstein in the report above that there have been no breakthroughs in contract talks thus far and Villa aren’t planning a possible signing with a view of Jack Grealish leaving. In turn, it’s an ambitious move from us, and one that could make us a bigger threat to the sides that finished above us last season.