Fabrizio Romano has revealed Arsenal found it difficult to extend the contract of Emile Smith Rowe.
Smith Rowe, man of the match in the weekend’s North London Derby win over Tottenham, was the subject of intense interest from Aston Villa and many other clubs both here and abroad in the summer.
According to Romano on his Here We Go podcast, this was the reason that signing an extension with Smith Rowe was not easy for the Gunners.
He said: “I want to say that extending Emile Smith Rowe’s contract was not so easy.
“Arsenal have been perfect with the strategy, we have to give credits to Edu. Having the verbal agreement before his holidays then when he was back they signed the contract.
“It was not easy because many clubs were interested. Aston Villa made important proposals, many clubs were trying to tempt the player, not just in England.”
Smith Rowe is one of a selection of young players at Arsenal that includes the likes of Bukayo Saka who have come through the Hale End academy to feature heavily in the first team in the past few years.
The 21-year-old broke through into the Arsenal first team last season, scoring twice and assisting four times in the Premier League.
This season, he has already scored and assisted one time each and appeared in all of Arsenal’s games this season.
He will be hoping to continue his good form for the rest of the campaign so that he can help Arsenal return to European competition next season.