Arsenal never considered selling Emile Smith Rowe to Aston Villa, says Mikel Arteta

Aston Villa had two transfer offers rejected for Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta says there was never any chance of Emile Smith Rowe joining Aston Villa in the summer as Arsenal made it clear the midfielder was not for sale.

Villa identified Smith Rowe, 21, as one of their top targets at the summer transfer window and failed with two separate offers for the Englishman, who joined Arsenal’s academy at the age of just 10.

The club’s second unsuccessful bid of £30million came after they had already splashed out £38m to beat the Gunners to the signing of Emiliano Buendia, with Dean Smith looking to fill the void left by Jack Grealish’s departure.

Smith Rowe went on to put pen to paper on a bumper five-year contract with his boyhood team and took over the iconic No.10 shirt, previously worn by the likes of Mesut Ozil, Robin van Persie and Dennis Bergkamp.

The England Under-21 international has gone on to start all but one of Arsenal’s eight matches in the Premier League this season, registering one goal and one assist, and is expected to continue his run in the side versus Villa tomorrow evening.

Looking back on Villa’s determined pursuit of the youngster, Arteta told reporters: ‘Any club has the right to make an inquiry about a player and if they believe they have the financial power to get him, they are entitled to make a bid.

‘There was communication between clubs regarding Emile and we made it really clear he was not for sale.

‘I was never worried he could leave because he is a big part of our future and what we’re trying to do as a club.

‘He is really happy where he is and I’m delighted to have him in my team.’

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Smith was open about Villa’s interest in Smith Rowe when asked about the summer transfer saga at his pre-match press conference.

‘He’s a good footballer! I think everyone can see that,’ the Villa head coach said.

‘He decided to stay at Arsenal. Arsenal’s a big football club in its own right.

‘He’s a good player and we want good players at this football club.’

Arsenal are riding a six-match unbeaten streak in all competitions and sit 12th in the Premier League ahead of Friday’s match.

The north London giants will be desperate to return to winning ways against Villa after a pair of disappointing draws with Brighton and Crystal Palace in the English top flight.

Villa, meanwhile, head into the clash on the back of successive defeats to Tottenham and Wolves, but can leapfrog the Gunners with victory at the Emirates.

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