Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has urged the Gunners to show Emile Smith Rowe that they are still a top club amid interest from Aston Villa by signing some top talent.
The young playmaker enjoyed a standout breakout campaign last term, registering four goals and eight assists across all competitions, statistics that read even more impressive considering he barely played before Christmas.
His form has resulted in talks with Arsenal over a fresh long-term contract and football.london understands that the club are hopeful of tying down the 20-year-old in the coming weeks.
However, Smith Rowe has been subject of two bids from Aston Villa this summer as Dean Smith’s side are reportedly extremely interested in signing the Hale End graduate.
And Petit has urged his former club to show Smith Rowe they are still an ambitious side in an attempt to fend off interest from Villa.
“As a club, you need to show your players that you are ambitious,” former Gunners midfielder Petit told Metro. “In terms of improvement, competition and ambition, it’s very important to send them a signal. Arsenal have been sliding down the table for five or six years.
“When is it going to finish? That means if I am an Arsenal player, I will be very conscious about what the club is doing in the market, who are the new players, who is leaving the club, and in the end I’ll make a conclusion.
“If the club is spending money on good players with character, maybe that shows they want to send a signal to the team that this season will be different to the last few seasons. That they want to get back to the level they were at before.
“Players will look at that and compare with other teams, then make a conclusion very easily. If Arsenal don’t have the team to compete for the Champions League positions, it’s going to be the same as last year and the year before.”
The former France international has also claimed that Smith Rowe will be seeing fellow English youngsters thriving with the national team and want to emulate their pathway by playing in Gareth Southgate’s team.
“Emile Smith Rowe is not stupid, he will be looking at guys like Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish enjoying their football with the national team, all smiling on the pitch and very relaxed with the pressure and the ambitions of their clubs and the national team. Smith Rowe will want to be the same,” he added.
“The fact that Aston Villa are interested in him is not a surprise because they avoided relegation last year, this season was brilliant for them.
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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“They’ve got so many young players, all enjoying their football, and Smith Rowe will be aware of that. He will have had some questions in his mind and I hope Arsenal gave him the answers he was expecting in terms of the transfer market and ambitions for next season.
“If this season is the same season we’ve seen from Arsenal for the last couple of years, forget it. They’re going to lose so many players at the end of the season.”