Dean Smith has opened up on Aston Villa’s interest in Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe over the summer transfer window. Villa tabled two bids for the Gunners midfielder over the summer, with the second offer believed to be around £30million, but Arsenal were quick to turn down the proposals, with Smith Rowe a big part of Mikel Arteta’s plans with the club moving forward. Arsenal then tied Smith Rowe down to a new long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium, with the 21-year-old putting pen to paper on a deal that runs until the summer of 2026, and was also given the number 10 shirt at the Gunners. With Villa facing Arsenal for the first time this season on Friday evening, manager Smith was inevitably asked about the Midlands-based club’s pursuit of Smith Rowe.
Dean Smith said: “He’s a good footballer! I think everyone can see that. He decided to stay at Arsenal. Arsenal’s a big football club in its own right. He’s a good player and we want good players at this football club.”
Smith Rowe himself was recently asked about agreeing a new long-term contract at Arsenal and revealed that he was never going to say no to the offer despite strong interest from Villa.
Emile Smith Rowe said: “Yeah, I’m buzzing, man, buzzing. There’s not much I can say really, I was never going to say no to it. But yeah, no I was buzzing, my family were really happy for me as well, and that is the most important thing for me. It has been a crazy journey, like I said, being here since I was 10-years-old, coming through the ranks with loads of team-mates and stuff along the way. So, finally putting pen to paper on a long-term deal is something that I have been waiting to do. I feel like it has definitely been an up and down journey. There have been a lot of downs with injuries and so on, and I feel like I have had a lot of experience, going out on loan and stuff. So it has definitely been a hard one, but I am really happy to commit my future to Arsenal. I feel like I do not really try to set myself any challenges going forward, I try to keep moving forward game by game and see how it goes. I do not like to put too much pressure on myself, but I am sure it is going to be a big season for me and the team as well.”
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