Arsenal are confident Emile Smith Rowe will sign a long-term contract with the club despite rumours of outside interest in the 20-year-old.
Mikel Arteta handed Smith Rowe his first Premier League appearance of the season last Boxing Day when he threw him in from the start against London rivals Chelsea. The attacking midfielder immediately caught the eye and brought a spark to the side the Gunners had clearly been missing prior.
He repaid his manager's faith by providing an assist that day, and went on to finish the 2020/21 campaign in impressive fashion.
Smith Rowe's current contract with Arsenal is due to expire in 2023 but having impressed, it seems the Gunners are looking to secure his long-term future and protect themselves from those rumoured to be monitoring his situation - Aston Villa included.
Head of football operations Richard Garlick is said to be leading the negotiations between the club and the player's representatives - a role he has taken on since his arrival from the Premier League - and football.london claim a contract extension for Smith Rowe is among Arsenal's top priorities this summer. The report adds they are confident an agreement will be reached in the near future.
When Arteta was questioned on the subject last month he confirmed that discussions were going to take place during the summer, and shared that in his view Smith Rowe had 'earned the right' to have his situation reviewed.
Along with Bukayo Saka, the emergence of the England Under-21 international has been one of the few positives from what was an otherwise disappointing season.
If there was one concern to be had with regards to Smith Rowe, it would be over his tendency to break down with injuries - although his talent alone is surely enough to whet the appetite of Arsenal's supporters as they head into another season of transition.
Source : 90min