Emile Smith Rowe has put an end to speculation over his future by signing a new long-term deal to commit his future to Arsenal.
The 20-year-old made his breakthrough into the first team last season after the Christmas period, making 34 appearances for the Gunners, scoring four times and assisting three more in the process.
The youngsters form had seen him attract attention of several clubs with Aston Villa putting in two offers for the England under-21 international and Real Madrid reportedly also showing interest.
But now he has silenced all doubt over where he will be playing his football in the long-term by signing a new contract to remain at the Emirates.
Smith Rowe has now been rewarded for his decision by being handed the number 10 shirt which he will wear for the coming season, taking over from Mesut Ozil.
It’s another contract coup for Arsenal who have been able to sign youngsters Bukayo Saka, Folarin Balogun and Arthur Okonkwo to long-term deals in recent years. Technical director Edu admitted this was key for the club’s long term plans and identity.
“This is another important step forward for us and we’re all delighted that Emile has signed a new long-term contract,” said the Brazilian.
“It’s great to see another young player develop through our academy system to become a key part of our first team.
“Emile is a player who represents the future of the Club and this is why we have given him the number 10 shirt. We have trust in Emile and we know he has the potential to be a beautiful player for many years to come.”
Mikel Arteta added to Edu’s words in expressing his delight that Smith Rowe would be staying at the Emirates for the coming seasons.
“As we all saw last season, Emile is an intelligent player with excellent ability,” he said.
“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.
“Huge credit to our team in our academy who have given Emile a great education and have worked superbly to help with his development through the age groups.
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“Along with the first team staff, huge credit also goes to our senior players, who have played such an important role to help Emile develop, gain confidence and perform the way he did last season.
“I know the fans will join us in being delighted that Emile has committed his future to the Club. We’re now looking forward to helping him develop further and seeing him become even more important to the strong young team we’re building.”