Aston Villa could deliver another blow to Premier League rivals Arsenal by signing Emile Smith Rowe this summer.
After beating the Gunners to the signing of Norwich City star Emi Buendia – reports even suggested the Argentine was intent on making the move to Villa Park – it appears Dean Smith is keen on landing another blow to the north London.
Speaking on The Transfer Window Podcast on June 9, journalist Duncan Castles said: “Aston Villa have sounded out Emile Smith Rowe. He broke into the Arsenal team with great effect this season. He is under contract until 2023.
“Something needs to be done by Arsenal in terms of extending the deal or he could be tempted by other clubs.
“It would be quite damaging for Arsenal if they were seen to lose a young talent like that to a club like Aston Villa. It is telling in terms of the ambitions Villa have for next season.”
Having already made a big statement by landing Buendia ahead of Arsenal, Villa could deliver another sign of their “ambitions”, as Castles says, by luring one of the Gunners’ brightest young talents.
Speaking on the Pitch to Post Preview Podcast, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp said: “Emile Smith Rowe has come in and been a revelation. They needed someone to light the flame, give them that spark.
“He’s an academy boy and you can see he’s doing a great job, the fans love him. I hope with Odegaard coming into the club, that doesn’t stop him being instrumental in what they’re doing. But I’ve been so impressed with him, I love his work ethic, I love the way he runs with the ball, he’s been a breath of fresh air for this team, exactly when they needed it.”
This time last year as they were battling to avoid relegation, even the most ardent of Villa fans could not have expected for them to beat Arsenal to a key signing and then contemplate landing one of their homegrown talents.
Alas, such has been the rise of Smith’s side in the last 12 months that a move for the £43m-rated Smith Rowe might actually be on the cards, especially given his contract situation in north London.