Emile Smith Rowe is set to sign a contract extension with Arsenal soon, per Chris Wheatley. The contract will keep the Hale End product at the Emirates through 2026, adding three years to the two remaining on his current contract. A new contract for the club’s star was high on the list of summer priorities for Edu et. al., so well done to them.
From where I sit, it wasn’t much of a question whether Smith Rowe, an Arsenal youth product and lifelong Arsenal supporter, would stay at the club. But it’s always good to lock down skilled, homegrown players to longer contracts to keep potential suitors at bay.
There were reports that Aston Villa were already kicking the tires on a move for him. And I can imagine a scenario where without an extension, next summer rolls around with ESR entering the last year of his contract and a Liverpool or Manchester United come knocking with a big offer, and will he / won’t he leave becomes A Thing.
Smith Rowe was a key piece in turning around the Arsenal attack, and his insertion into the starting lineup was a major factor in the club’s post-Boxing Day run of form. Even though how much better the Gunners actually were when you split the season roughly in half is an open question, the results improved markedly. And for what it’s worth, I think playing ESR through the middle in a creative role is good process, even if the underlying number results weren’t as good as the points gathered make them seem.
That Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka, Arsenal’s two brightest, young, Hale End-product stars are both under contract for the next three seasons is an unqualified Good Thing. They’re the best thing about Arsenal right now and the biggest reason to be excited about the future in North London.