Villa are trying to make statement captures


Aston Villa have seen a £25 million bid for Emile Smith Rowe rejected by Arsenal and are close to signing former England international Ashley Young.

Villa are making another statement of intent with the capture of Young on a free transfer after his departure from Inter Milan.

Young has opted to join Dean Smith ahead of Burnley and Watford and a deal is expected to be concluded later this month.

After the club record £33 million capture of Emi Buendia from Norwich, Villa have also made a significant offer for Smith Rowe, the England under 21 international.

Arsenal insist the attacking midfielder is not for sale and are in advanced talks over a new contract.

Smith Rowe made a major impact for Mikel Arteta last season, emerging as one of Arsenal’s most important players in the second half of the campaign.

Arsenal are looking to strengthen the attacking midfield position within their squad and losing Smith Rowe would leave them with a major gap in that crucial area of the team.

The departure of Martin Odegaard, whose loan expired at the end of last season, means that Smith Rowe is arguably the only natural No 10 in Arteta’s squad.

The 20-year-old is a product of the Arsenal academy and the club is desperate to tie him down to a new contract. His current deal expires in June 2023.

Smith Rowe enjoyed a strong finish to last season, scoring two goals in Arsenal’s final four games of the season.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have submitted a formal offer for Brighton and England defender Ben White, which has been rejected.

Arsenal’s offer is understood to be worth around £40m and the expectation is that talks between the two clubs will continue in the coming days.

White was a standout performer for Brighton last season, excelling in a possession-based system that Arteta has instilled at Arsenal.

If a deal can be agreed, White would be a replacement for the departed David Luiz. White was a surprise inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s England squad this summer.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are hopeful of reaching an agreement with Anderlecht for midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga. They are understood to have made an official bid of around £13m for the 21-year-old, with negotiations set to continue in the coming days.

The club is also interested in signing goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale from Sheffield United. Ramsdale was this week called into England’s squad following Dean Henderson’s withdrawal.

With uncertainty over Bernd Leno’s long-term future, Arsenal are considering alternative options in the goalkeeping position.