Aston Villa have suffered a major blow in their pursuit of Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe.
The Villans have already seen two bids turned down for the highly-rated 20-year-old, but it appears as though their hopes of securing his services could be ended over the coming days.
According to respected journalist James Benge, Smith Rowe is set to put pen to paper on a new deal at the Emirates Stadium after extensive negotiations.
He tweeted: “Exclusive: Arsenal growing in confidence that they will soon secure a new contract for Emile Smith Rowe. It’s expected to be a five year deal but there are still details to finalise.”
Villa enjoyed a fabulous 2020/21 campaign, finishing in 11th position in the Premier League standings despite talisman Jack Grealish being injured for three months of the season.
The Midlands outfit are keen to strengthen their ranks even further over the summer and have already brought in former Norwich City ace Emi Buendia in a big-money deal.
Smith Rowe had been identified as their next top target, with bids of £25m and £30m being placed for the creative talent, although their hopes of bringing the England Under-21 international to Villa Park appear to be all but over.
The news will leave Villa boss Dean Smith feeling gutted after missing out on one of the nation’s most promising young talents.
After multiple injuries to first-team regulars left Mikel Arteta with little choice but to place his faith in academy graduates last season, Smith Rowe took his chance with both hands.
“I know what they are capable of doing. They are developing really well, and that’s a merit to them, a merit for their teammates and everybody that is involved to try to support them and protect them as well,” claimed Arteta.
“But the performances that they are putting in are extraordinary.”
Dean Smith has created an exciting, youthful squad since winning promotion with Villa two years ago, and Smith Rowe would have been another significant coup for the former Brentford boss, but he’ll be forced to look for alternative options in the rest of the window.