Arsenal legend David Seaman was thrilled to see Emile Smith Rowe sign a new contract and rebuff the advances of Premier League rivals Aston Villa, as he told talkSPORT (27 July, 12:00pm).
For a while, it looked like the Midland giants were not going to take no for an answer.
Bankrolled by billionaire owners Nayef Sawiris and Wes Edens, Villa’s ambition knows no bounds these days.
Smith Rowe might have just 19 Premier League starts under his belt, but that lack of experience did not stop Aston Villa making two bids in the region of £30 million for a man who emerged alongside Bukayo Saka as the shining light in a dark season for Arsenal last time out (Mail).
The Croydon-born play-maker once turned down Barcelona in favour of extending his stay at London Colney, however and it is now Aston Villa wiping pie off their faces after Smith Rowe signed a new five-year deal, complete with a substantial pay rise.
Is Aston Villa’s loss Arsenal’s gain with Emile Smith Rowe?
“I’m quite glad that Smith Rowe is staying and not going to Villa because that would have been a right kick in the teeth for the fans,” Seaman said, shuddering at the thought of one of Arsenal’s brightest homegrown talents upping sticks and joining a top-flight rival.
“You don’t want your best players leaving the club. Everyone keeps saying build your team around youth but you can’t do that if they don’t stay.”
An Aston Villa side who have already broken their transfer record once this summer to bring in the masterful Emi Buendia from Norwich City have wasted little time turning their attention to alternative targets, with the Smith Rowe saga over at last.
Bournemouth winger Arnaut Danjuma and Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey are two potential options, while Villa are expected to firm up their interest in the hugely promising Argentina international Julian Alvarez over the next couple of weeks.