Emile Smith Rowe ignores interest from Aston Villa to sign a new long-term contract with Arsenal… and academy product is handed Mesut Ozil’s old No 10 shirt after becoming a key player for Mikel Arteta last season
- Emile Smith Rowe has signed a new long-term contract at Arsenal
- Attacking midfielder, 20, was a target for Aston Villa earlier this summer
- But after two bids of £25m and £30m were rejected, Smith Rowe has committed
- He will be given the Arsenal No 10 shirt, worn by Mesut Ozil until January
Emile Smith Rowe has signed a new long-term Arsenal deal – and been confirmed as their new No.10.
Smith Rowe, a target for Aston Villa this summer, has committed his future to Arsenal and will also inherit the iconic shirt that has been vacant since Mesut Ozil’s departure in January.
Attacking midfielder Smith Rowe’s previous deal was due to expire in 2023 and Villa were keen to tempt him away, making two bids of £25m and £30m.
But Arsenal have managed to convince him his long-term future remains at the Emirates and extend his stay.
Emile Smith Rowe has signed a new long-term contract to commit his future to Arsenal
The attacking midfielder puts pen to paper on his new contract after deciding to stay
The attacking midfielder was linked with Aston Villa but has decided to stay at the Emirates
Smith Rowe, who made his debut in 2018, established himself in Arsenal’s first team during a breakout campaign for the 20 year-old last season.
His increased involvement coincided with the ending of Arsenal’s winter slump in form and he finished the season with four goals and eight assists in 33 appearances and also one of their most influential players.
Sportsmail revealed in January that Smith Rowe was being lined up for a new deal before the start of next season.
Manager Mikel Arteta said: ‘As we all saw last season, Emile is an intelligent player with excellent ability.
Smith Rowe has been given the Arsenal No 10 shirt last worn by Mesut Ozil until last January
The player poses with manager Mikel Arteta (left) and director of football Edu (right)
‘His sharpness on the turn and exceptional vision have already made him a key player for us. His attitude and willingness to learn have also been very impressive.
‘Huge credit to our team in our academy who have given Emile a great education and have worked superbly to help with his development through the age groups.
‘Along with the first team staff, huge credit also goes to our senior players, who have played such an important role to help Emile develop, gain confidence and perform the way he did last season. I know the fans will join us in being delighted that Emile has committed his future to the Club.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta praised Smith Rowe as ‘an intelligent player with excellent ability’
‘We’re now looking forward to helping him develop further and seeing him become even more important to the strong young team we’re building.’
As well as the new contract, handing Smith Rowe the shirt that has also been previously worn by the likes of Jack Wilshere, Robin van Persie and Dennis Bergkamp among others, is another show of faith from Arsenal.
Arsenal technical director Edu said: ‘This is another important step forward for us and we’re all delighted that Emile has signed a new long-term contract. It’s great to see another young player develop through our academy system to become a key part of our first team.
‘Emile is a player who represents the future of the Club and this is why we have given him the number 10 shirt. We have trust in Emile and we know he has the potential to be a beautiful player for many years to come.’