‘It would be a disaster’ – Former Gunner warns against sale of wanted star

Nigel Winterburn has warned Arsenal against the sale of Emile Smith Rowe, who is claimed to be of interest to Aston Villa.

The 20 year-old enjoyed a fine breakthrough campaign in North London, breaking into the first-team on Boxing Day, only to quickly earn a regular role in the team with a string of consistent performances.

His season clearly attracted plenty of positive attention, and the Villains are said to have already made two bids to sign him, and they are claimed to have been encouraged into considering a third offer.

Former defender Winterburn has claimed it would ‘a disaster’ to allow ESR to leave however.

He told NetBet(via Football365): “If we were to let him go it would be a disaster, it would send out completely the wrong messages to our supporters.

“He’s a young player who’s had his breakthrough season, he’s been hugely impressive, and we cannot afford to let him go. I do genuinely believe it would have such a negative impact on the club, we’ve got some good attacking young talent and to sell to another Premier League club would be a complete disaster.”

I completely agree with Winterburn, although feel more strongly about how important a player ESR could be for the club in the coming years, on top of how it would look for the other younger players who are looking to break into the first-team.

Could Arsenal seriously be considering such a sale?


Tags Emile Smith Rowe Nigel Winterburn


  1. I hope it doesn’t happen but I wouldn’t bet against it!
    Arteta seemed to prefer Ødegaard in the 10 position with ESR wide left and I wonder if there will be a more creative incoming 10 which ESR will be sacrificed for?

  2. Who would this be a disaster for?
    Possibly Arsenal, but would it be a disaster for ESR.
    At Villa he might get to play every week, something Arteta probably cannot or will not guarantee!!!

    1. Rightly put, JW.

      Game time is very important to a player like ESR at this stage of his career. Since ESR’s introduction in the starting line-up wasn’t pre-planned and was done just due to forced circumstances, no wonder the lad is bidding his time to sign the contract extension. Though his game time wasn’t affected much by the arrival of Odegaard on-loan, he’ll be wary enough about committing his long-term future to the club after watching the treatment of other academy prospects like AMN, Willock, Nelson and Nketiah. Until ESR signs the new contract, the club is in a very vulnerable position.

      Hollow promises and a bump in salary is not going to work with a guy like him. There’ll be a handful of club club in England ready to give him that and some more. More minutes in the starting line up is the only way to convince him to stay longer.

      If ESR plays regularly this coming season and comes out on top, Arsenal will put put themselves in a tighter spot than now. With just one more year in his contract, he can bend them to his wills or risk losing him.

      The question is whether Arsenal are going to lose him this summer or the next. Either way, it won’t go down well with the squad and fans.

      The sooner he signs, the more relieved the fans shall be.

  3. Honestly I just do not understand arteta anymore. I like him so much but now I am beginning to doubt his potency.

  4. Arteta will shift him to the left as he did when Odegaad came in and he proved no better than ESR

  5. I had earlier termed it real madness if Arteta and Edu sell Smith Rowe. Then both of them will be shown the door out of Arsenal because the disaster will be unbearable for Saka, Tierney , Aubameyang, and the entire fan base.
    Smith Rowe has already aclamatised to the Arsenal Football team
    Give him 10 or 8 shirt, please and leave him alone.

  6. Point of correction, it’s not Arteta that wants 2 sell him but the club if at all. Arteta has him in his plans going 4ward, only I just hate 2 see him at the helm of authority. Such a rookie !!!

  7. There is no indication that the club or even Arteta or Edu want to sell ESR. Villa think highly of ESR obviously, hence the reported multiple bids.

    My hope is that ESR gets a ton of starts in MIDFIELD where he shines, not 3rd choice winger where he has been just average.

    Surely Arteta and Edu know selling ESR would have disastrous consequences.

    1. The fan’s wrath would be immense selling a young talent that loves the club.

    2. Further erode the trust in their “project” they are trying to sell to fans.

    I thought Arteta was supposed to be almost “savant-like” in developing youth.

    I just raise concern that Arteta prefers going full on Pep and buy players rather than try coaching up youth we have on wage books.

    I would love for Arteta to focus on youth we have in house rather than window shop at other clubs.

    New CB? Improve Saliba or Gabriel or Mavroporas.

    Attacking midfielder? Coach up Willock to compete with ESR.

    Could have coached Nelson up more, is he really so far behind a trashy Willian?

    New striker? Coach up Balogun, Nketiah, or Martinelli.

    We have youth in positions we are shopping for.

    All agree it will take time, Kronke won’t buy his way back into CL. So why not use this time to focus on OUR youth rather than another club’s?

    A solid assistant coach could have done this over the last 18 months. Freddie was brilliant with Saka, Willock, and ESR.

    Why not have him coach up Martinelli, Balogun, Nelson, Willock, Azeez, Saliba, Mavroporas, Lopez at LB, etc…

    Can’t help but feel we missed a real opportunity here, an owner insisting on this as part of a managerial hire could have made a real difference.

    Instead, it’s just rinse and repeat, sell players for peanuts, and blame everyone and everything except those currently managing this circus.

    1. That’s why i have previously called last season a lost year.

      Perfect time to push and develop the youth I mentioned to find out if we REALLY need new players, or polish the talent we have.

      Instead, a year wasted, questions still abound, and we’re buying backup LB and CM when we could have integrated Lopez, Willock, or Azeez.

      Poor poor management from Kronke, Edu, and Arteta. That’s why I seriously questioned their “process” last year, and further remain skeptical of their “project” this year.

      The project relies on Kronke’s generosity with his money, not talent of manager. No different than Emery or now Arteta.

      Rinse and repeat and we’re seeing similar results from Arteta as with Emery.

      1. Like we have discussed on a myriad of occasions, Durand, the fact that ownership not only allowed Arteta to bypass the much-needed “rebuild”, but in fact rewarded him with the managerial tag, on the heels of his misguided pursuits, will continue to haunt our club for the foreseeable future…at least if he had opted for a much more balanced mix of youthful and experienced players, we could have learned something along the way without unnecessarily devaluing our potentially sellable assets…instead we allowed our fledgling manager to deploy amateur hour tactics, to the detriment of our greatest assets, shoehorn players into the selection process who functionally had no future at the club, thereby stifling the developmental process, and ostracize several of our highest-rated youthful prospects, which could severely hamper our progression for years to come…the very fact that we entered this off-season with considerably more question marks than a year prior is both mindboggling and infuriating

    2. Where Arsenal truly failed is sentimentally appointing Edu as the technical director. Nobody knows or talks about his credentials. His work in club management were mostly within South America where the success of the clubs are based on their connections with super-agents. He’s just trying to replicate that here at Arsenal.

  8. There is zero evidence that Arsenal want to sell ESR, either to Villa or any other club. SO WHY IS THIS NON STORY BEING WRITTEN ABOUT?

    I see no tangible reason, other than Villa’s interest,or PATRICKS CONSTANT NEED FOR ARTICLES to make any Gooner think there is any danger of selling him.

    If there is ANY true reason, then either provide tangible EVIDENCE of it OR stop writing what is clearly nonsense. Please!

    1. If a club has lodged two formal bids wouldn’t you want to know about it?

      If they are considering a third wouldn’t you want to know about it?

      There isn’t fire without smoke and Arsenal have had two weeks now to give him a fair wage package and close the door on this saga. Instead, the rumors swirl and ESR’s agent is licking his chops. Imagine being ESR and see how much a club like AV want you, and Arsenal continue to recruit midfielders and were heartbroken over Odegaard.

      Shame on Arsenal for not prioritizing ESR and continuing to shop.. NOT Patrick.

    2. Not saying that Arsenal want to sell him but isn’t the tangible evidence is that they have not said a categorical “NO – not for sale” otherwise why would Aston Villa be preparing a third bid?

      As they say… no smoke without fire.

      So it wouldn’t surprise me under this regime if he leaves. 😭

  9. I wish I was as confident as you are JF but I dont think Villa would go in for a third bid if they weren’t receiving some positive signals.

    Maybe that’s just ESR’s agent trying to get more money but equally it could be ESR seeing how he was pushed out to the wing in difference to Odegaard and reading every day about latest CAM we are linked with.

    My money is still on him signing but I’m not sitting here comfortably thinking it’s a done deal. Wish I had your confidence.

  10. My worry is if a club offers 60+ million for Saka would the club think about it or cash in?

    As Nat King Cole sang… “There maybe trouble ahead…”


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