Former Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton believes his old club have shown serious intent about their future plans in their pursuit of Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe.
Villa launched an audacious £25m bid for Smith Rowe last week which the Gunners rejected. Despite this swift knock back they are reported to be preparing an improved bid of £30m. Arsenal, meanwhile, are attempting to tie their young starlet down to a new contract. His current deal has only two years remaining.
Villa are said to be determined to get their man. This strong desire means they are willing to raise that bid further if needed.
And this relentless approach has attracted praise from Hutton, who spent eight seasons at Villa Park from 2011-2019.
He told Football Insider: “They mean business. They’ve obviously looked at him as what would be a top target.
“I think the potential is there for everybody to see after his breakthrough season at Arsenal. It just shows you where Aston Villa are at the moment. Obviously, Buendia picked to go to Villa over Arsenal.
“That shows you where they are at the moment, what they’re pushing for and what they’re striving to be. Why would you not want to be a piece of that?
“I think it was them maybe just testing the waters with the £25million. I think it would take a bit more than that to prise such a talented youngster away from Arsenal. They were always going to kind of rebuff that first offer.
“If they could get a hold of a player like that, I think it’d be an amazing piece of business from Villa.”
Villa’s resolve could force Arsenal to submit to Smith Rowe’s contract demands if they want to keep a hold of the 20-year-old.
It seems Mikel Arteta will have to match Dean Smith’s offer of regular first-team football to ensure Smith Rowe is playing in red and not claret next season.
Another Arsenal youngster is up for sale
Meanwhile, Arsenal are open to offers for fellow youngster Eddie Nketiah after he failed to sign a new contract with the club, according to one journalist.
Nketiah has just 12 months left on his current deal at the Emirates and was offered a new contract. He has reportedly turned this down, though, and wants a move away to a club where he can gain regular playing time.
This put a number of Premier League sides on alert, including West Ham, Brighton, and most recently Crystal Palace.
And now Arsenal are said to have accepted the reality that Nketiah will be leaving this summer and are inviting offers for the 22-year-old.