Arsenal attacker remains prime target for Premier League side as contract renewal drags on

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Arsenal clearly haven’t sent too stern a message to Aston Villa regarding Emile Smith Rowe as the playmaker remains the priority target for the Midlands outfit, per the Athletic (subscription required).

The Athletic have found that the Villains’ No.1 priority for the summer transfer window is a No.10, with Smith Rowe still topping their list of targets.

It’s reiterated that the energetic attacking midfielder is still top option for Dean Smith’s side, despite the fact that they’ve had two bids rejected for the 20-year-old, the second being worth around £30m.

The Athletic state that the Gunners have no ‘appetite’ for accepting any bid for Smith Rowe which will please fans, but the fact they’re yet to offer the star a new contract will annoy supporters just as much.

Arsenal can’t have been too dismissive with their rejections of the bids from Villa if the West Midlands side are still keen, and drawing out the contract process even longer will not help to ward them off.

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Smith Rowe Arsenal
Emile Smith Rowe celebrates scoring for Arsenal against Chelsea

It’s not too surprising to see that Villa are after yet another attacking midfielder, having beaten Arsenal to the recruitment of Emi Buendia already, as they may also need a replacement for Jack Grealish.

The Athletic have found that the club will allow the fan favourite – for both club and country – to leave if a bid of £100m arrives, with Manchester City seen as the biggest admirers in Grealish right now.

Smith Rowe, despite having debuted for Arsenal a couple of seasons ago, enjoyed a real breakthrough campaign in 2020/21 after finally being trusted in the most important competitions by a manager.

Mikel Arteta surprisingly brought Smith Rowe into the starting eleven for the Boxing Day clash against Chelsea, the starlet turned in a wonderful performance to overcome their rivals and hasn’t looked back.

Smith Rowe contributed three goals and seven assists in 33 first-team appearances last season, with the England Under-21s international largely featuring as a No.10 but also capable of putting in a shift on either wing.

The Athletic suggest that Villa will turn to Burnley wide-man Dwight McNeil if they fail in their continued efforts to recruit Smith Rowe from Arsenal.

More Stories Dean Smith Dwight McNeil Emile Smith Rowe Jack Grealish Mikel Arteta