Aston Villa transfers: Villans want young Premier League ace - The Verdict

Arsenal midfielder and Aston Villa target Emile Smith Rowe celebrating a goal

Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe has emerged as a transfer target for Aston Villa this summer, as revealed by The Telegraph.

Having finished 11th in the Premier League in 2020/21, Villa appear to now be looking ahead to the summer transfer window, and it is understood that they would like to add a creative midfielder to their squad.

Norwich playmaker Emiliano Buendia has been linked with a move to Villa Park, and the Villans seem to have identified Smith Rowe as another candidate to fill this role for the side next year.

Smith Rowe came through Arsenal's academy, and still has two years left on his contract at the north London club. However, he has not yet signed a new long-term deal with the Gunners.

With this in mind, Villa appear to be sensing an opportunity to potentially sign Smith Rowe, and could make a move for the youngster when the transfer window opens later this month.

Would Smith Rowe be a good signing for Villa?

GIVEMESPORT's Sam Brookes, Jonathan Gorrie, Christy Malyan and Joshua Cole give their views below...

Sam Brookes

"Smith Rowe could be the next Jack Grealish.

"Grealish has been linked with a move to Manchester City this summer, meaning that Villa may need to look for his replacement shortly. They need look no further than Smith Rowe.

"Admittedly, he still has a long way to go to reach Grealish's level right now, but he has already shown glimpses of his ability this season.

"Arsenal were in dire form when he came into the team in December, but Smith Rowe stepped up and started to take games by the scruff of the neck. In his first five league appearances of the campaign, he registered assists in wins over Chelsea, West Brom and Newcastle.

"Players who can consistently make match-winning contributions don't come around too often, but Villa have one in Grealish, and they could soon replace him with another in Smith Rowe.

"Smith Rowe glides around the pitch much like Villa's captain, and his ability to create chances - he made 27 key passes in the Premier League in 2020/21 (via WhoScored) - is reminiscent of what Grealish has been doing for years.

"Villa fans may have to be patient with Smith Rowe, who does not turn 21 until next month, if he moves to the Midlands, but in time they will discover that he is a serious talent."

Jonathan Gorrie

"Absolutely not.

"If Smith-Rowe is being lined up as a replacement for Jack Grealish, fans should be gutted.
The sample size for Smith-Rowe is not yet big enough to risk replacing a man who leads pretty much every attacking metric in Dean Smith's squad.

"Grealish has proven he can inspire this Villa team. Without him, they can look a completely different side and, should he leave, the club need to know they can rely on one or two players capable of performing at just as high a level.

"Perhaps Smith-Rowe will get there one day. Still, to risk their Premier League survival on him potentially getting to Grealish's level would be wholly negligent from the decision-makers at Villa Park."

Christy Malyan

"Considering Emile Smith Rowe was involved in two more Premier League goals than Ross Barkley this season despite being seven years his junior, it's pretty clear he would be a wise investment for Aston Villa, someone who currently matches the quality of a player already at their disposal but could easily far surpass it in the years to come.

"The Arsenal youngster is bursting with potential having already established himself in the first team at the age of 20 and were it not for the fact that England are already drowning in young and promising attacking midfield talent right now, I think there would be loud calls for Gareth Southgate to include Smith Rowe in his Euros squad as one to gain experience for future tournaments.

"Aston Villa's season petered out after Jack Grealish's injury with Dean Smith's side winning only four games across the entire season in his absence, so they obviously need another option who can provide a similar kind of service in midfield. With an average of 1.4 key passes per game this term Smith Rowe looks like a strong candidate to deliver that while adding longevity to Smith's ranks."

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Joshua Cole

“Whilst Smith Rowe has illustrated some signs of promise for Arsenal since the turn of the year, it may end up being a naïve decision by Villa if they opt to sign him instead of Emiliano Buendia.

“One of the stand-out performers in the Championship last season, the Norwich City playmaker illustrated that he is now ready to take the top-flight by storm and has recently been linked with a move to the Midlands.

“If Villa want to push on and potentially challenge for a place in the top six in the upcoming campaign, they need to draft in a player who is able to deliver the goods straight away.

“Therefore, instead of making a move for Smith Rowe who only managed to provide six direct goal contributions in the Premier League for Arsenal last season, Villa should splash the cash on Buendia who could provide a dual threat alongside Jack Grealish.”

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