KEY POINTS

  • Emile Smith Rowe commits to Arsenal with a new 5-year deal
  • Aston Villa previously pressured Arsenal to sell but were rebuffed twice
  • Smith Rowe to wear Mesut Ozil's No. 10 jersey

Emile Smith Rowe feels like he belongs to Arsenal, so he has decided to commit to the team with a new long-term deal.

Early in July, it was reported that Aston Villa was pressuring Arsenal to sell the English Under-21 national team player, but their bids of £25 million ($34.2 million) and £30 million ($41.1 million) were rebuffed by the Gunners.

Aston Villa had pegged him to be the perfect replacement for Ollie Watkins in the midfield since he could support Jack Grealish and summer signing Emiliano Buendia.

The 20-year-old had a solid breakthrough year last season and Arsenal fans saw a glimpse of what he can bring to the table.

The deal firmly puts transfer rumors to rest as the Emirates Stadium will surely enjoy having Smith Rowe on the team for at least the next five years.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta shed light on the club’s decision to sign him.

“As we all saw last season, Emile is an intelligent player with excellent ability. His sharpness on the turn and exceptional vision have already made him a key player for us. His attitude and willingness to learn have also been very impressive. I know the fans will join us in being delighted that Emile has committed his future to the club,” Arteta said.

Arsenal has also given him their coveted number 10 jersey, last worn by the great Mesut Ozil.

The young star has also shared his perspective on staying with the club in an interview with Arsenal.com.

“[Signing my new contract] means so much to me. I’ve been waiting for it, and to carry on playing with this club, it means so much to me and I’m so happy,” he said.

“I feel like I didn’t really have to think about it too much, you know. I’ve been at the club since I was 10 years old, so for me it was just about carrying on at this club, so like I said, I’m really happy.” 

Smith Rowe was also asked about the feeling he’ll get when he spots someone at the stadium wearing his newly-gifted number 10 jersey.

“That’s going to feel amazing, I can’t wait to see that! I’m not going to think about it too much, I’m just going to wait and see what happens. I can’t wait.”

The youngster will have more time to shine at the club as the departure of Georginio Wijnaldum to Paris Saint-Germain opens up an opportunity for him to establish himself as an Arsenal legend in the years to come.