Arsenal news: Emile Smith Rowe signs contract extension to end transfer uncertainty | Football | Sport

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Emile Smith Rowe has signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal, ending months of speculation over the possibility of a summer move to Aston Villa. The young midfielder has also been handed the coveted No 10 shirt, most recently occupied by Mesut Ozil, ahead of next season.

Smith Rowe has been heavily linked with Villa since the beginning of the summer window, with the west Midlands club reportedly seeing two bids rejected for the 20-year-old.

However, any lingering hopes of securing a deal appear to have been quashed by the midfielder’s decision to commit his future to the Gunners.

His new five-year contract will keep him at the Emirates Stadium until 2026.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta reacted to the news by highlighting Smith Rowe’s excellent attacking nous and the lofty potential he will be expected to deliver on when the new season gets underway.

“As we all saw last season, Emile is an intelligent player with excellent ability,” the Spaniard told the club website.

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“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.

“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.”

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The Arsenal manager’s comments were echoed by technical director Edu, who added: “This is another important step forward for us and we’re all delighted that Emile has signed a new long-term contract.”

“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 No 10 shirt.

“We have trust in Emile and we know he has the potential to be a beautiful player for many years to come.”

Smith Rowe played 37 times in all competitions last season and was involved in this month’s friendly matches against Hibernian and Rangers.

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He emerged as a key player for Arsenal towards the back end of the previous campaign, impressing supporters with his ability to move the ball effectively and conjure up chances in a side crying out for additional creativity.

The midfielder scored his first league goal for the club in a 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion at the beginning of May, before following up three days later with the winner against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

He also grabbed seven assists in all competitions and played every minute in both legs of the Europa League semi-final meeting with eventual champions Villarreal.

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