Arsenal have rejected an offer in the region of £25million from Aston Villa for Emile Smith Rowe, football.london understands.
The 20-year-old scored four goals and made seven assists in his breakthrough campaign last season, after making his first Premier League start against Chelsea on Boxing Day.
Smith Rowe has two years remaining on his current contract and his extension is seen as one of the priorities for the executive team this summer, with talks already underway.
Sources told football.london at the start of the month that Villa’s reported interest was not concrete, but Dean Smith’s side have since firmed up their desire to bring Smith Rowe to Villa Park by tabling a formal offer.
Head of football operations Richard Garlick is leading contract negotiations for all first team players, and the former Premier League Director of Football will also be tasked with the same brief for all new signings.
The Croydon-born youngster is seen as part of the Gunners’ ‘British core’ alongside Bukayo Saka and Kieran Tierney.
“I can’t really describe the feeling, to be honest,” Smith Rowe said on Arsenal’s official YouTube channel back in February.
“Being an Arsenal fan from such a young age, getting an opportunity to help put on the Arsenal shirt and step out on that pitch, there’s really no better feeling for me.”
Smith Rowe, who spent time on loan at Championship side Huddersfield Town last season, cemented a place in the first team last season alongside fellow academy graduate Bukayo Saka.
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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“We are going to have that discussion,” manager Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports in May when asked if plans were in place to tie Smith Rowe down to a long-term deal.
“I think Emile has earned the right to look at that situation because of the performances that he has produced. He’s very much engaged and wants to continue with us, that’s for sure.”