Telling Life

Stuff that matters

Arsenal have rejected a surprise bid from Aston Villa for the attacking midfielder Emile Smith Rowe, who is yet to sign a new contract.

Smith Rowe’s emergence as a first-team mainstay was among the highlights of a generally disappointing 2020-21 season for Arsenal and he is in discussions about what would be a significant improvement upon his deal, which ends in 2023. Villa have sought to capitalise on any uncertainty around the 20-year-old’s position by offering a sizeable fee, understood to be about £25m, but Arsenal hold no interest in discussing a potential sale.

That situation may change if Smith Rowe does not agree terms but Arsenal are determined not to lose a player who joined their academy 11 years ago and is one of the Premier League’s fastest-rising young English talents.

Villa’s interest reflects their ambition to back Dean Smith in the transfer market this summer. They have already claimed one victory of sorts over Arsenal by signing the Norwich playmaker Emiliano Buendía, who had been among Mikel Arteta’s targets to fill a similar role, for a club record fee that could reach £40m. Their appetite to test Arsenal’s resolve with a higher bid is yet to be determined.

Arsenal intend to spend money of their own. They are believed to have followed up on longstanding interest in the Brighton and England defender Ben White by making a £40m offer that has, similarly, been knocked back. Any move for White would almost certainly lead to departures among Arteta’s existing centre-back ranks, with William Saliba’s longer-term status upon completing his loan at Nice among those potentially in doubt.

Brighton are close to signing Nicolás González after agreeing a club record fee of an initial £25m with Stuttgart for the Argentina forward.

The 23-year-old has been tracked by Graham Potter’s side for some time, Brighton having failed with an attempt to sign him last summer. Although Stuttgart have accepted a similar bid from Fiorentina, it is understood that González would prefer to move to the Premier League. He has also been linked with Leeds and Tottenham.

Brighton have been in negotiations over the fee for several weeks for a player who scored six goals in 15 Bundesliga appearances last season and the club have made a breakthrough, with the price set to eclipse the £20m paid for Adam Webster in 2019.

González, who moved to Stuttgart from the Buenos Aires club Argentinos Juniors in 2018 for £7.65m, is playing at the Copa América in Brazil.

Watford have announced that Danny Rose will join on a two-year contract once his deal at Tottenham expires at the end of this month. The left-back had a loan spell at the club in 2009.