Unai Emery wants to sign Arsenal ace Emile Smith Rowe to add creativity to Aston Villa squad
Unai Emery’s stint at Arsenal is easily forgotten, but Aston Villa could be about to profit from that spell in north London after being linked with Emile Smith Rowe.
The Hale End Academy product made his first-team debut under the tutelage of Emery at the Emirates Stadium, with Smith Rowe profiting from his trust in young players and willingness to afford him an opportunity.
He is now a fully fledged member of the first-team at Arsenal and even wears the legendary number 10 shirt once donned by Dennis Bergkamp.
But according to TalkSPORT (20 April) he could be on the move this summer in search of more regular first-team football after missing much of the season through injury, with Emery keen to link up with the 22-year-old once again after the “Amazing” rise at Villa Park.
The Gunners are on the verge of winning their first league title in 19 years under Mikel Arteta, but Smith Rowe’s contribution has been minimal even when fit and he has been described as the “forgotten” man in the squad.
In fact his most memorable moment this season was being the substituted that got substituted in the late win against Bournemouth, where he lasted just 47 minutes in total.
But despite his struggles this season with fitness and regular action, it’s clear from his performances in the prior season that he would be a huge signing for Aston Villa if he were to join.
Going back to his 2021/22 campaign where he was a regular starter, with 21 of his 33 appearances coming from the initial lineup, he was a creative force who far outperformed our current options this season.
That season he managed 10 goals and two assists over the season, which is more goal contributions (12) than Bertrand Traore, Philippe Coutinho and Leon Bailey have managed combined this year (10).
He also averaged more key passes per game (0.9) to the three Villa options (0.3, 0.4 and 0.8) while he averaged more passes per game and had a better pass completion accuracy too.
Smith Rowe is capable of playing as a ten or off the left-wing, and his numbers match up to offering greater balance and quality to this Aston Villa side too.
He managed 1.2 shots per game and 0.9 key passes per game, more than Traore, Coutinho and Bailey can muster up too. His one dribble completed per game is also far better than the 0.3 and 0.7 that Traore and Coutinho manage, although it’s just shy of Bailey’s 1.2.
His ball security is largely good too, only being dispossessed 0.8 times per game which is a joint-high with Traore.
Ultimately at 22-years-old he is only going to improve, and Emery has already proven that he is a manager that can work with him and improve him as a footballer. The move would make sense for all parties.
If Arsenal are willing to let him go, Aston Villa should make the move happen.
In other Aston Villa news, this academy starlet is ready to step up and make fans forget about Coutinho.