Arsenal creative midfielder Emile Smith Rowe is the subject of heavy interest from Aston Villa this summer, but the Gunners clearly have no intention of selling.
The youngster, who broke into the first-team last season, scored in Arsenal’s pre-season defeat against Hibernian on Tuesday night after coming on at half-time.
And following the defeat to the Scottish side, Mikel Arteta was asked about the future of his star prospect.
“Without a question,” Arteta responded when asked if Smith Rowe would stay in north London.
“He will stay here. 100 per-cent.”
Villa are said to have made two bids for Smith Rowe so far, believed to be of £25million and £30m respectively.
But judging by Arteta’s comments, there’s no chance of Smith Rowe playing anywhere other than the Emirates next season.
Arsenal are still trying to convince Smith Rowe to sign a new long-term contract with the club, and are believed to be close.
The Gunners are believed to expect him to put pen to paper on a five-year contract on significantly improved wages.
Arteta refused to comment on what sort of fee it would take for Villa to prize him away from the Emirates.
But with Martin Odegaard having returned to Real Madrid at the end of his loan spell, Arsenal are now dangerously short in central attacking positions.
Alexandre Lacazette played as a centre-forward in a number ten role last season at times, but Arsenal are expected to bolster their options in the playmaker position.
As a result, it seems unlikely the Gunners will let him go.
Arsenal are said to be lining up a move for Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, who they failed to sign a year ago.
Despite failing to sign him in the 2020 summer transfer window, they are expected to make a fresh approach with a bid in the region of £17m this time around.
The French youngster would likely come in to provide competition for Smith Rowe and act as a rotation option, and could perhaps see Smith Rowe shift out wide at times.
It’s unlikely that Aouar would come in and replace Smith Rowe, especially judging by Arteta’s comments.
Smith Rowe has been tipped to take over Mesut Ozil’s vacant number ten shirt upon the signing of his new contract, a further hint that he won’t be leaving.
Speaking after the Hibs defeat, Arteta expressed he believed the young playmaker still has a lot to learn and indicated his development would continue in north London.
“He knows that [scoring] is a part of the game he needs to get better at,” the Arsenal manager said.
“We are working on it a lot and you could see the positions that he took today. He created two or three big chances.”