Arsenal have rejected one bid for one attacking midfielder this week, and are eyeing a move for another.
In perhaps the biggest surprise of the summer transfer window thus far, Aston Villa – who have already signed Emiliano Buendia – lodged a £25m bid for Gunners youngster Emile Smith Rowe.
Given that the 20-year-old is highly-regarded at Arsenal, it was no shock to learn Villa’s offer had been knocked back.
In fact, this could speed up talks between the Gunners and Smith Rowe’s representatives with regards to tying the attacking midfielder down to a new contract at the Emirates Stadium.
But whilst the north London outfit were busy rejecting a bid from Villa, they were also registering their interest in bringing in competition for Smith Rowe.
football.london understands that the Gunners are considering a move for Leicester City attacking midfielder James Maddison after missing out on a deal for Buendia and with Martin Odegaard likely to stay at Real Madrid.
However, there’s one major sticking point for Arsenal to sign a player whom manager Mikel Arteta admires.
The Foxes are likely to demand over £60m for the playmaker, who only signed a new long-term contract at the King Power Stadium less than a year ago.
With that said, the Daily Mail claim that Gunners officials are ‘confident’ that a package worth about £60m may get the deal done this summer in a major statement of intent.
As a result, this combined £85m transfer decision could see Arteta with the option of choosing between Smith Rowe and Maddison in the attacking midfield role when the 2021/22 season begins.
All of which has sparked a mini-debate on Arsenal Reddit as to what shirt number changes could be in store for the new season.
Some fans are keen for Smith Rowe to get the number 10 shirt which has been vacant ever since Mesut Ozil left for Fenerbahce in the January transfer window.
Although, others think the iconic squad number should go to Maddison if he does seal a summer move.
Tarp96 said: “Even if Maddison arrives we should give it to ESR. Came in during our darkest period last season and transformed the team.”
maidentaiwan said: “When you plunk £60m on someone, they typically get to name their squad number. Smith Rowe will get the 8 (or the 10 a few years down the line).”
The summer window is officially open, and it’s going to be tough to keep up with the comings and goings in and out of the Emirates.
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arsenal08reading said: “Maddison has to settle for the 8.”
AgarophobicFungiMartinelli said: “Madders gets the 10.”
Ronak4Arsenal said: “Partey 5, Smith Rowe 8, Maddison 10, Martinelli 11. We move.”
tomgleeson28 said: “Maddison will get 10 so he’ll stay 32 I guess.”