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The Smith-Rowe alternative transfers Aston Villa must consider

Aston Villa’s proposal for Emile Smith Rowe, has been rejected by Arsenal after they are unwilling to change their stance on the player.

The bid, which is believed to be around £25 million, has been shut off by the Gunners after they are in the process of trying to renew Rowe’s contract and have no intention of selling.

Rowe has become a firm favourite within Mikel Arteta’s side after breaking in from their youth team. The academy product impressed during the 2020/21 campaign, scoring seven times and making seven assists in 37 appearances in all competitions.

It has now made the attacking midfielder quite attractive to Dean Smith who is looking to bolster his squad, especially up top.

However if Arsenal is so intent on keeping their player, Villa might be left out in the cold, even after going back and forth with the London club.

So exactly which alternatives can the Lions look to?

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Jesse Lingard

Lingard is approaching the final year of his contract with Manchester United and is expected to hold talks with management when he returns for pre-season training.

After falling out of favour for the starting XI, Lingard was sent on loan to West Ham United, where he thrived, scoring nine goals in 16 games.

His form spurred England manager, Gareth Southgate to add the 28 year old to his 33-man squad however he was later omitted from the 26-man provisional squad, which many fans found disappointing.

With the midfielder being linked to West Ham, United and even Paris Saint-Germain, could Villa Park become his dancefloor instead?

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Loftus-Cheek was on loan at Fulham, a side that has now been relegated to the Championships. But before that, he had become a key player for Maurizo Sarri’s side when the Italian was in charge.

The academy graduate possesses a rare blend of gifts. He has the technique, delicate touch and balance of a winger, but the physique, burst of acceleration and drive of a dominating central midfielder.

It’s why he was courted by Barcelona during his time in the Chelsea academy. And why he was earmarked for a first-team role under Jose Mourinho all the way back in 2014.

And now with his future up in the air, Villa could use this to their advantage to swoop in and sign the midfielder, give him a fresh start and a platform on which he can showcase his talent and realise his potential.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek spent the 2020/21 campaign on loan at Fulham. (Image: Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images).
Ruben Loftus-Cheek spent the 2020/21 campaign on loan at Fulham. (Image: Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images).

Matheus Pereira

Matheus Pereira excelled during his first campaign in England’s top flight with Albion.

Having scored 11 and assisted six across 33 applications, the midfielder joined the Baggies after his season-long loan with them as he helped promote them to the Premier League.

After gaining interest from Leicester City and Leeds United, it isn’t without a doubt that his future could be in jeopardy with West Brom after their relegation this season.

Described on the Bundesliga website as “strong in possession, full of pace, a fine dribbler and the orchestrator of intricate interplay”, the 25-year old will be hoping to stay within the League to showcase his talents further – could he be exactly what Smith needs to create a spark in his starting XI?

Dwight McNeil

It’s Dwight McNeil who is a wanted man at the moment with Villa targeting the winger.

Interest emerged in April and the links have re-surfaced in recent days with the midfielder having previously been reportedly interesting the likes of Manchester United and Juventus in the past.

McNeil has signed a contract with Burnley until 2024, with the Clarets keen to keep one of their star men, but with Villa splashing the cash on Emi Buendia, it could also spur the Lions to do the same for one of their targets.

Joe Willock

Arsenal youngster, Joe Willock, was in exhilarating form on-loan with Newcastle United throughout the second portion of the season.

After joining the club in the January transfer window on a temporary basis, he proved a terrific arrival, netting an outstanding eight goals in just 14 Premier League games.

He was even awarded the EA Sports Premier League Player of the Month for May.

And Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce has vowed to test Arsenal’s resolve to hold onto midfielder Joe Willock.

With Arsenal open to listening to bids from the Magpies, they would possibly even listen to Villa’s bids if they decided to go for the 21-year old – and with Villa’s financial clout, they could overrule ex boss Bruce.

Joe Willock was superb whilst on loan at Newcastle United. (Image: Stu Forster/Getty Images).
Joe Willock was superb whilst on loan at Newcastle United. (Image: Stu Forster/Getty Images).

One to consider…Eberechi Eze

Joining Crystal Palace last season would have been a dream for the former Queens Park Ranger player. Playing in the Premier League and scoring four goals in 32 appearances would have been an honour.

And it would’ve continued if the footballer hadn’t suffered a ‘freak’ accident one day towards the end of the season.

Eze injured his Achilles after making a sharp turn in training and went down without a challenge, with an MRI scan confirming the extent of the injury, in May 2021.

He suffers being out of play for around six months. However if Villa are prepared to wait to bear the fruits of the 22-year-old in the long-term, now could be the time they consider it.


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