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Arsenal transfer news: Mikel Arteta never thought about selling Emile Smith Rowe

Emile Smith Rowe
(Image credit: PA)

Mikel Arteta has emphasised how highly he rates Emile Smith Rowe ahead of Arsenal’s meeting with Aston Villa tonight.

According to The Metro, the Gunners manager never considered selling Smith Rowe to Villa, despite their well-publicised £30million bid.

The attacking midfielder has blossomed under Arteta, becoming a key part of the Arsenal team since he took over from Unai Emery in December 2019.

After loan spells at RB Leipzig and Huddersfield Town, Smith Rowe established himself as a regular last season, making 33 appearances in all competitions.

During the summer, there were rumours that the academy graduate could leave the Emirates to join a revamped Aston Villa.

With club captain and star man Jack Grealish heading for the exit, several new faces arrived, including Emi Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings.

But Arsenal stood firm, rejecting their big-money offer for Smith Rowe and rewarding him with a new five-year contract on much-improved terms.

During his pre-match press conference, Arteta was asked about Villa’s interest in signing the England youth international, who turned 21 in July.

“Any club has the right to make an enquiry about a player and if they believe they have the financial power to get him, they are entitled to make a bid,” said Arteta.

“There was communication between clubs regarding Emile and we made it really clear he was not for sale.

“I was never worried he could leave because he is a big part of our future and what we’re trying to do as a club. He is really happy where he is, and I’m delighted to have him in my team.”

Despite Arsenal’s patchy start to the season, Smite Rowe has continued to impress, registering a goal and an assist in last month’s 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur.