Having already beaten Arsenal to the signing of Emi Buendia, Aston Villa added insult to injury by making a £25million bid to try and tempt Emile Smith-Rowe into refusing to sign his new Arsenal contract.
That initial bid was dismissed out of hand, but now it appears that Villa are now going to test Arsenal even further by upping their bid by another £5million. Everyone is expecting the Villains to get a windfall of at least £100million by selling Jack Grealish to moneybags Man City before the window shuts, so they are likely to have money to invest heavily on replacements, of which Buendia was the first.
But the Villa legend Gabby Agbonlahor thinks that his club are still hopeful as long as Smith-Rowe hasn’t signed his new contract, but is pretty sure that the Gunners would not entertain the notion even at the improved price.
“They’re just testing Arsenal’s resolve and maybe Arsenal need the money,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider. “I still look at it and think the age, the talent he’s got, the season he’s had, I don’t see Aston Villa getting him at that price.
“Arsenal will be fuming, they will probably see it as an insult, offering £30million to one of their best young players.
“I just don’t see that one happening. I’ve seen Arsenal fans on social media now see Aston Villa as the enemy because we’re trying to steal their best young players for £30million.
“I just don’t think he’d want to leave Arsenal, to be honest. He’d probably see Arsenal as a bigger club than Aston Villa with their history and coming through the academy.”
I think I have to agree that Arsenal would not consider selling at that price, but it is possible that Agbonlahor is correct that Arteta needs the money, but what price would be enough to tempt him to cash in to secure his other targets?
But surely if Smith-Rowe wants to put off any further speculation, then all he has to do is announce that he will be extending his contract...