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Emile Smith Rowe


Nigel
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Aston Villa have made their latest move to bolster Dean Smith’s squad ahead of the new Premier League season by submitting a bid to Arsenal for England Under-21 midfielder Emile Smith Rowe.

Villa’s offer for the 20-year-old — believed to be worth in the region of £25 million — has been rejected by the north London side, who are in the process of trying to renew the player’s contract and have no intention of selling.

A product of Arsenal’s Hale End academy, Smith Rowe broke into their first team last December and established himself as an influential presence in one of the creative attacking-midfield roles.

Negotiations to extend a deal which expires in June 2023 opened in April and although that gives them time, the club will be keen to secure his long-term future as swiftly as possible.

Smith Rowe joined Arsenal at the age of 10 and rose through the youth system before spells on loan at RB Leipzig and Huddersfield Town. He scored four goals in 33 appearances across all competitions for Mikel Arteta’s men in 2020-21 and his homegrown status is especially important.

Villa came 11th last season, three places and six points behind Arsenal, in their second campaign back in the English top flight and are intent on further strengthening the group of players at Smith’s disposal.

They have already completed the signing of attacking midfielder Emiliano Buendia from Championship title winners Norwich City for around £33 million, potentially rising to £38 million with add-ons, and the business on new arrivals at Villa Park is likely to continue.

Whether or not they manage to acquire Smith Rowe, the pursuit gives an indication of the 1982 European Cup winners’ wealth and ambition under co-owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.


What it means for Arsenal
By James McNicholas

This bid for Smith Rowe is a sign of Villa’s aspiration, and the threat that poses to some of the lesser lights among England’s supposed Big Six. Villa were always the front-runners for Buendia and Arsenal did not bid competitively for the Argentinian, but the Birmingham club have now turned their sights onto one of Arsenal’s own.

Selling Smith Rowe is, frankly, unconscionable. He is an academy product, a Hale End boy — someone whose development has required considerable investment and patience. There have been two loan spells so far, and several injury problems. To let him go now, at the moment he is beginning to blossom, would be absurd.

Smith Rowe’s importance in the squad cannot be understated. His introduction to the team for Boxing Day’s 3-1 win over Chelsea was a crucial turning point in Arsenal’s season — until then, without a conventional No 10, the team had suffered from a painful lack of creativity.

Even when Martin Odegaard arrived on loan in January, Smith Rowe was still selected regularly by Arteta, often from the left-hand side. His energy and intelligence were crucial components in Arsenal’s improved form in the second half of the Premier League campaign.

Arsenal entered this transfer window looking for a new No 10 to supplement Smith Rowe. Having seen Buendia go to Villa, and with indications that Odegaard is set to remain at parent club Real Madrid, the club are currently reliant on the 20-year-old to fill the position. He is relatively unique among Arsenal’s players, and that makes him valuable.

Perhaps the negotiation that will rise up Arsenal’s list of priorities now is over a new contract for Smith Rowe. He has two years remaining on his deal, and is not on a salary that reflects his newfound importance to the first team. Villa’s interest ought to accelerate those negotiations between his agent and Arsenal.

Bukayo Saka and Smith Rowe were the bright spots in Arsenal’s underwhelming 2020-21 season. Losing either of them, especially to a club looking to leapfrog them in the table, is unthinkable.


What it means for Aston Villa
By Gregg Evans

Villa’s ambitions are becoming crystal clear. Not only are they showing no signs of slowing down their spending spree under Sawiris and Edens, but they are also looking at ways to weaken clubs who could be direct rivals.

Bidding for Smith Rowe is the most obvious sign yet of that. For two years, Villa have been aggressive in the transfer market, spending around £300 million on new recruits since winning promotion back to the Premier League.

But this strategic approach of trying to pick apart big teams is taking Villa to a new level. That they feel Smith Rowe is an achievable target says everything about the way the club are moving forward. The very thought of taking away one of Arsenal’s most exciting young players just a few years ago would have been laughed at.

But Villa signed Emiliano Martinez from the north Londoners last summer and they got the upper hand on them again earlier this month when they completed the deal to sign Buendia.

Villa also beat Tottenham Hotspur to Ollie Watkins last summer because they were willing to pay the £28 million required to sign him from Brentford.

Other ambitious targets have been identified as Villa look to take a step closer to the top six this season, having gone from 17th with 35 points in 2019-20 to 11th with 55 last season. Head coach Smith believes that strengthen his attacking ranks is the best way forward as the ball broke down far too often in the final third during 2020-21.

As reported last night, Inter Milan’s Villa old boy Ashley Young is a player under consideration. Southampton’s England midfielder James Ward-Prowse is also on a shortlist of wanted players.

Of course, such an aggressive approach to signings will take an almighty hit if Manchester City, or any other interested club, firm up their interest in Villa’s best player and captain, Jack Grealish, and take him away before the window closes at the end of August.

Also, while their desire to sign Smith Rowe are real, it’s one thing bidding for him, and another actually landing the attacker.

But already, these are starting to feel like exciting times for Villa.

They are flexing their muscles in the market and aiming high.

(Top photo: Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Athletic

Please be true, real statement signing buying him off one of the supposed top 6.

Edited by Nigel
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Arsenal have just had a £40 million bid rejected for Ben White. Let's just sign him too. I know a starting centre back isn't ap riority for us, but for the banter alone it'd be worth it!

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He's a very good player imo, love his style and Arsenal's results picked up when he broke into the team from December onwards. In other eras he'd be in the England squad this summer imo.

Would've had him ahead of Buendia personally but both will do.

Only issue is not sure how him, Jack and Buendia all work in same team unless we're getting those two in for 12 months time.

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Personally I think this is a speculative attempt to win over a player who isn't that likely to come to us, so I expect it to come to nothing.

I do however think there's some value in rattling Arsenal's cage (purely for the bants) but also to further announce ourselves in the transfer market. It helps build momentum behind the club even if it comes to nothing.

As others have mentioned in the transfer thread, though, it will make everyone outside the club immediately assume Grealish is on the way out.

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I might be looking too much into moves likes these as well.

However, Arsenal are a club we want to leapfrog, is a part of the strategy to weaken our " rivals " one by one?

The sheer gall and ambition of these moves are very encouraging.

We are throwing our weight around like a " Big Club "

If we improve again this season, so will our audacity IMO.

Young players, will realise we really are building something!

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7 minutes ago, VillaChris said:

He's a very good player imo, love his style and Arsenal's results picked up when he broke into the team from December onwards. In other eras he'd be in the England squad this summer imo.

Would've had him ahead of Buendia personally but both will do.

Only issue is not sure how him, Jack and Buendia all work in same team unless we're getting those two in for 12 months time.

Grealish left, ESR 10, Buendia right. Then swap them all around as you see fit. Jack can also play 10, ESR can also play left, Buendia can play as a 10. The options would make us unpredictable and very hard to play against. 

Edited by RichiBoi11
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1 minute ago, fightoffyour said:

I’d be astounded if he chose Arsenal over us.

Might be a Martinez type situation.

They have Pepe who they can't shift on big wages and fee so he'll have to stay and play and also have Martinelli and Saka as wide options for the other side. Also sometimes play Aubameyang out wide.

Arteta of course also wanted to get in Buendia so clearly targeting another wide/inside forward option this summer so in that situation Smith Rowe may get squeezed out if he's got two years left as Arsenal don't have any european income for this season either.

It's interesting as his name was floated just before we signed Buendia so despite doing that we're still in for him so must be getting some encouragment from his camp to still be interested.

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Just now, RichiBoi11 said:

Grealish left, ESR 10, Buendia right. Then swap them all around as you see fit. Jack cna also play 10, ESR can also play left, Buendia can play as a 10. The options would make us unpredictable and very hard to play against. 

Yes it would be brilliant to watch but I'd still like a wide player who could stretch a team on counter attack.

I think though getting Buendia in and targeting someone like Smith Rowe with his profile is basically to get us ready for post Grealish existance whether it's this summer, next summer or two years time.

Nothing wrong with that as it's what Leicester have done last 5 years.

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9 minutes ago, Panto_Villan said:

Personally I think this is a speculative attempt to win over a player who isn't that likely to come to us, so I expect it to come to nothing.

I do however think there's some value in rattling Arsenal's cage (purely for the bants) but also to further announce ourselves in the transfer market. It helps build momentum behind the club even if it comes to nothing.

As others have mentioned in the transfer thread, though, it will make everyone outside the club immediately assume Grealish is on the way out.

Also the bid isn't too big so clubs can't go you are money bags. 

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3 minutes ago, Phil Silvers said:

Don't have time to go on the arsenal forums, I bet its comedy gold doom and gloom galore.

It's well worth a read, given this bid seems deliberately intended to troll them: https://arsenal-mania.com/forum/threads/emile-smith-rowe-out.34437/page-5

The most striking thing for me is that a good portion of them seem borderline illiterate.

Edited by Panto_Villan
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