The non-story of the summer for Arsenal has been Emile Smith Rowe’s contract situation. The Hale End product and breakout star is already under contract through June 2023, but Edu is looking to lock him down to an even longer deal. According to James Benge, Arsenal are “growing in confidence” that Smith Rowe will soon put pen to paper on a new, five-year contract, with just details remaining to be ironed out.
Arsenal seem to be sticking by their stated goal of not letting players enter the final year of their contracts without a new one in place / plans for a sale — Smith Rowe would hit the final year of his current deal next June. There are a number of reasons to tie ESR to the club long-term, not least of which is that Aston Villa have been (annoyingly) sniffing around. Villa have made two bids for Smith Rowe — one for £25M and another for £30M — and are reportedly preparing a third around £38M.
No player is untouchable, but £38M isn’t enough to tempt Arsenal, I don’t think. If Villa (or somebody else) came back with a bid north of £50M then I think the Gunners would at least consider it, but even then, I think they’d want more.
A few weeks ago, Arsenal were linked to James Maddison for £60M. Smith Rowe has one third the Premier League experience that Maddison does, but is four years younger. It’s reasonable to think that by the time he’s 24, Smith Rowe will have made more Premier League appearances than Maddison at that age. The Maddison number, £60M, should be the starting point.
But enough hypotheticals. Nobody is coming in with a knock-your-socks-off offer for Emile Smith Rowe. He’s of more value to Arsenal anyway, and he’s going to re-sign at the Emirates. He has been at the club since he was 10 years old, his entire footballing life, and is a lifelong Arsenal supporter. He’s one of our own, important to Mikel Arteta’s tactical plans, and a potential superstar in the making.
Let’s hammer out those details so the guy can sign ‘da ‘ting.