Luke Hatfield, from the Express and Star, has all but confirmed that Aston Villa have accepted defeat in their pursuit of highly-rated Arsenal youngster Emile Smith-Rowe.
Dean Smith has been chasing the 20-year-old attacking midfielder all summer, but has seen two offers rejected by the Gunners, who are desperate to keep one of their most promising talents.
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However, Mikel Arteta recently confirmed that Smith-Rowe will “100 percent” be staying in north London this summer despite strong interest from Villa.
Smith-Rowe, who doesn’t turn 21 until later this month, caught the eye following several outstanding performances for Arsenal since breaking into the Gunners first-team on Boxing Day.
He scored twice and chipped in with four assists in just 18 Premier League starts during his breakthrough season with his boyhood club, where he looks set to stay following recent contract talks.
Asked whether the deal is now dead in the water, Hatfield told The Transfer Tavern:
“It does represent a significant blow.
“Until it’s signed and sealed then Villa will think there will be a way to work their way into it, but with the confidence that Arteta has come out and said he’s 100 percent staying, it does make you think the new deal is pretty much agreed now, and they’re waiting to announce.”
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