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Why Arsenal fans should take Aston Villa’s Emile Smith-Rowe bid very seriously

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal at American Express Community Stadium on December 29, 2020 in Brighton, England.The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Reaction to Villa’s Smith-Rowe bid

It has been a week since Aston Villa’s initial bid of £25 million for Arsenal’s young attacking midfielder Emile Smith-Rowe was rejected by The Gunners.

Reported by David Ornstein of The Athletic, Arsenal have no intention of selling the 20-year-old and for good reason. Arsenal struggled at the beginning of the season and even went through a period in which they won just one game in 10 matches.

The integration of Emile Smith Rowe into Mikel Arteta’s team saw a turnaround in form immediately, the England youth international playing a pivotal role in the Boxing Day 3-1 victory over Chelsea.

Smith-Rowe quickly became a very popular member of the squad and is rated exceptionally highly by those in the Arsenal fan base.

When reported by Ornstein that Aston Villa had made a bid, much of the reaction to his tweet was one of humour.

“Who do they think they are?” wrote one account.

“Who gassed this small club?” read another. And these continued into their hundreds. Of the over 1200 responses to Ornstein’s tweet, a theme was developing and it seems the consensus was very much one of jovial disbelief at Villa’s audacity to bid.

Sure, the £25 million is certainly well below a figure that might make more sense.

However, Smith-Rowe’s current contract situation ongoing, Arsenal searching for a big-money signing in his position, a recent history of young players being mishandled, such as Matteo Guendouzi and William Saliba, and all in combination with Arsenal’s need to sell before they buy this summer. Suddenly it doesn’t appear as farfetched.

What’s worse, Aston Villa are not done. Reports suggest that they are aiming to return with yet another offer and want to see Smith-Rowe fill the final piece to their attacking line containing Ollie Watkins, Jack Grealish and, a once Arsenal target, Emi Buendia.

Nothing to laugh about

The fact of the matter is that whilst Arsenal fans may laugh, the possibility of seeing a key asset of the Gunners moving to a club such as Villa isn’t as much of a shock as it would have once been.

Arsenal have finished 8th in their last two seasons and the last campaign saw Villa do the double over the Gunners.

Arsenal sold Argentina international goalkeeper Emi Martinez to the Birmingham-based side and he became, some might argue, the best stopper in the league last year.

Why Arsenal fans should take Aston Villa’s Emile Smith-Rowe bid very seriously

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 08: Goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on November 08, 2020 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Visionhaus)

Villa, under new ownership, have gone from relegation survivors to European qualification chasers and Arsenal are in their crosshairs.

Whilst the other members of the so-called ‘big 6’ have progressed in the last 10 years, Arsenal have spent plenty and yet gone backwards. Despite some great days at Wembley winning some FA Cups, ultimately their standing has gone down.

Reported interest in Sevilla defender Jules Kound̩ by the Athletic evidence of their slip. Once a club known for attracting the top French talent, now seen as second fiddle to the likes of current European Champions Chelsea Рa much more attractive destination in 2021.

This brings us back full circle to Arsenal, Villa and Emile Smith-Rowe. Yes, Arsenal may laugh off Dean Smith’s attempts to take one of their prized assets, but simply the existence of such a move is further indication of the club’s plight and the desperate need to ensure this season turns the perception of what Arsenal football club is and most importantly… what it will be.

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This article was edited by Ben Browning.

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5 Everton FC 0 0 0
6 Southampton FC 0 0 0
7 Chelsea FC 0 0 0
8 Arsenal FC 0 0 0
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