Arsenal have announced that exciting young midfielder Emile Smith Rowe has committed his future to the club with a new long-term contract.
The 20-year-old exploded onto the scene last season to turn the Gunners’ season on its head. Following a dismal run of only one win in nine Premier League games, he inspired his side to a 3-1 victory over Chelsea on Boxing Day. From there, he missed only four top-flight matches and helped solidify Arsenal’s campaign.
As a result of his rise, transfer speculation surfaced over his future. Indeed, with only two years left on his previous deal, Aston Villa made £25million and £30million bids, but to no avail.
That is because Smith Rowe, who joined Arsenal as a young boy, had his heart set on an extension.
He told Arsenal.com of his renewal: “I can’t wait to carry on playing for this wonderful club and we’ll see what happens.
“[Signing my new contract] means so much to me. I’ve been waiting for it, and to carry on playing for this club, it means so much to me and I’m so happy.
“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.”
As well as the new contract, Smith Rowe will inherit the number 10 shirt, previously donned by Mesut Ozil.
However, it had much significance before that, with Dennis Bergkamp among the players to wear the strip.
Smith Rowe admitted he felt shocked when he found out he would be wearing the shirt next term.
Smith Rowe buzzing with Arsenal number
“Everyone knows that No 10 is a big shirt and it is definitely a big position as well,” he said. “So I’m buzzing to be honest, I can’t wait to get on the pitch.
“It’s really special – I can’t explain the feeling when I found out. I’ve not really got the words to explain it right now! But yeah, I’m really happy.”
Manager Mikel Arteta insisted that Smith Rowe will now have an “even more important” role to play in his side.
“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,” the coach added.
Technical director Edu, meanwhile, said he hopes Smith Rowe can realise his “potential to be a beautiful player for many years to come”.
As for new Arsenal signings, Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga have arrived. A deal for Brighton centre-back Ben White also remains on the cards.