Arsenal have rejected an improved offer from Aston Villa for Emile Smith Rowe and have informed the club that the midfielder is ‘not for sale’.
Villa saw an initial offer of £25m rejected for the England U21 international earlier this month and have now seen an improved bid – understood to be in the region of £30m – turned down by the north London side.
Smith Rowe came through the academy ranks with the Gunners and impressed after being handed his opportunity under Mikel Arteta over the second half of last season, scoring four goals and providing seven assists in 36 appearances across all competitions.
The 20-year-old currently has two years remaining on his contract and has held talks with Arsenal over an extension to his deal, though discussions are yet to reach an agreement.
David Ornstein of The Athletic reports that Villa’s interest in Smith Rowe is not ‘designed to prepare for the exit of Jack Grealish’ despite the club captain being linked with Manchester City, as Dean Smith seeks to add further creativity to his side following the club record arrival of Emiliano Buendia from Norwich.
Villa’s improved offer highlights the ambition of the club’s ownership who want to improve on a promising 2020/21 campaign, though Arsenal have shown no signs they are willing to negotiate and have informed the Midlands outfit that Smith Rowe is not for sale.