Folarin Balogun agreed a new four-year deal at Arsenal on Monday after months of tense contract talks with the club – and now technical director Edu has his sights on another promising youngster.
Emile Smith Rowe broke into the first team during the festive period and has been key in improving Arsenal’s attacking output in recent months.
The 20-year-old still has two years remaining on his current contract with the club but such is his promise, Arsenal want to tie his long-term future to the Gunners as soon as possible.
According to The Athletic, the Arsenal hierarchy have now opened negotiations with their youth team graduate over a proposed new deal.
If the attacking-midfielder comes to an agreement with the club, it will tie his future to the Gunners until at least 2025.
Smith Rowe has started 14 Premier League matches for Arsenal this season, alongside two domestic cup appearances and nine Europa League matches.
The 20-year-old has contributed just one goal but his creativity has led to seven assists across his 27 first-team appearances.
Reports come on the back of praise from former Arsenal striker Nwankwo Kanu, who has been impressed with Smith Rowe’s form since he broke into the team alongside fellow youth team graduate Saka.
“There are two names which spring to mind as far as Arsenal’s player of the season goes; Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka,” Kanu said.
“They offer the team so much through their versatility. Saka can play in so many positions, and when he’s not playing, you can see the side struggles without him.
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“Smith Rowe is a very good player. He can open up games and Arsenal definitely need him to play more in the next few years.
“These two, for me, have been the best players for Arsenal this season – they can’t afford for either of those two players to get injured.”
Smith Rowe’s best form has come in Europe for Mikel Arteta’s team and with Arsenal heading into a Europa League semi-final on Thursday against former manager Unai Emery’s Villareal, the youngster will be hoping to prove his worth to the team once more.