Aston Villa transfer rumours: Villans eye 20-year-old who may be the perfect Grealish replacement

Arsenal midfielder and Aston Villa target Emile Smith Rowe clapping

Aston Villa are interested in signing Arsenal youngster Emile Smith Rowe this summer, according to The Telegraph.

What's the latest news on Smith Rowe?

The Villans are believed to want to sign a creative midfielder this summer, and they have been linked with Emiliano Buendia recently.

They also reportedly have another target in mind - Smith Rowe. The 20-year-old has caught the eye at the Emirates Stadium this year, and Villa could be tempted to make a move for him when the transfer window opens next week.

What is Smith Rowe's contract situation?

The attacking midfielder still has two years left on his contract at Arsenal, suggesting that the Gunners are not in immediate danger of losing the prospect.

However, he is yet to agree a new long-term deal with the club, which leaves the door ajar for Villa to potentially test the waters in the coming weeks.

What are Smith Rowe's stats this season?

Smith Rowe started off the 2020/21 season out of favour, but he was a key part of Arsenal's side by the end of the campaign. In total, he racked up 20 top-flight appearances, registering two goals and four assists.

He also impressed during Arsenal's run to the semi-finals of the Europa League, chipping in with four direct goal involvements.

In the league matches that he featured in, he delivered 1.4 key passes per game (via WhoScored). No Arsenal player managed more than this per match.

What's been said about Smith Rowe?

One of Smith Rowe's goals this term came in a 1-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last month. Following the game, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp singled the Arsenal man out for praise.

As quoted by the Daily Mail, Redknapp said: "I have to mention Smith Rowe, he was excellent today, he was the best player on the pitch, he made things happen.

"He is an exceptional player and he travels so well with the ball."

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Could he be the ideal replacement for Jack Grealish?

Grealish has been Villa's standout performer this season, receiving an average WhoScored match rating of 7.56 - that puts him some way clear of the next highest-rated player in the team, Ollie Watkins (7.18).

His displays have not gone unnoticed, and he has recently been linked with a big-money move to Manchester City. If Villa lose their inspirational captain, it would be difficult for the side to handle, but replacing him with Smith Rowe could soften the blow.

As Redknapp pointed out, Smith Rowe is outstanding at dribbling with the ball, and his statistics indicate that he is perfectly capable of picking the right pass at the right time.

Grealish also excels in these areas of the game, having made 81 key passes and completed 65 successful dribbles in the Premier League in 2020/21, so Villa fans could be set to welcome a player with a similar skill set to the 25-year-old. 

Expecting Smith Rowe to immediately start producing the numbers that Grealish has delivered in recent seasons is likely to be a step too far, but the Arsenal attacker is five years Grealish's junior, and would have time on his side to grow into his role at Villa Park if he does opt to move to the Midlands.

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