Arsenal have rejected a £25M bid for Emile Smith Rowe from Aston Villa, per David Ornstein. One of the club’s top priorities this summer was a contract extension for the Hale End graduate to keep him at the Emirates beyond 2023. While there may still be work left to do to get the deal across the line, Arsenal are “confident” ESR will put pen to paper before the start of the Premier League season, per Charles Watts.
The Aston Villa bid is laughably, insultingly low. Even before you get to the English tax, that’s far too little for ESR. It’s not as if Arsenal were going to sell him anyway, but they certainly weren’t going to sell him at that price. He’s an academy product and lifelong Arsenal supporter, just had a breakout season in the Premier League, and is already a vital part of the lineup. I’d want £60M at the absolute minimum and would hold out for more.
That the original report came from David Ornstein makes think that the bid actually did happen and for whatever reason, Arsenal wanted it in the media that they rejected it. I’d also wager that Aston Villa (if they actually did lodge such a bid) never expected Arsenal to accept it and made it to posture in the market / unsettle the Gunners.
I think the bid, alongside buying Emi Buendia, is a pretty good indication that Aston Villa are preparing for life after Jack Grealish and that the England man and club talisman is likely to be sold this summer. If Villa are going to sell Grealish, it makes sense for them to do their buying before being flush with cash from a sale so that it’s more difficult for other clubs to play hardball and hold out for more money.
There is also the possibility that with ESR and Arsenal still working towards a contract extension, the story came from his agent. Also hitting the wires today was a report that Real Madrid would consider selling Martin Ødegaard to Arsenal should Smith Rowe head back the other way, which doesn’t pass the smell test for me. Taken together, the two stories feel like an agent trying to gussy up his client’s value and move contract negotiations along.
Sometimes I really hate the silly season. Emile Smith Rowe isn’t going anywhere.