Emile Smith Rowe's new contract could mean the end of 'terrific' teammate's Arsenal career - TBR View
Arsenal had an exciting announcement to share with fans on Thursday.
Emile Smith Rowe, one of the most talented Hale End graduates in recent years, has signed a new long-term contract.
It’s great news, particularly in wake of reported interest from Aston Villa.
Last season, Smith Rowe’s breakthrough finally provided Arsenal with that No. 10 creativity they were previously lacking.
However, the 20-year-old’s contract renewal might mean that another top Hale End talent could soon leave the Emirates Stadium.
According to Sky Sports, Newcastle are hopeful that the Smith Rowe news could accelerate their move for Joe Willock.
Had Smith Rowe moved to Villa, this would’ve made it difficult for the Magpies to land Willock permanently.
The two players could well have been competing for the same position in Mikel Arteta’s first-team plans.
But now, it’s likely that Smith Rowe will continue to be a regular in Arsenal’s starting XI next term.
Meanwhile, Willock shone on loan at St James’ Park last year.
He scored eight times in 14 Premier League appearances and set a new record by becoming the youngest player to score in seven consecutive games.
The seventh of those goals also equalled Alan Shearer’s mark for goals in consecutive Premier League games for Newcastle.
In February, Steve Bruce sung Willock’s praises after his debut goal against Southampton.
“The one thing you want to do is play well on your debut and arriving in the box like he did,” TEAMtalk quoted Bruce as saying.
“It was a great piece of skill from Allan [Saint-Maximin] to get to the by-line and pick him out.
“It was a classic midfield player’s goal from the ability to arrive in the box, and that’s what he’s brought us.
“He can go box-to-box, he’s a terrific athlete, the kid, a typical modern-day midfield player who has the ability to get up and down the pitch quickly and has that added ability to score a goal.”
Willock has clocked up 78 senior appearances for Arsenal, which is impressive for a 21-year-old.
But how likely is he to be a regular starter for the Gunners next season, particularly now Smith Rowe has penned a long-term contract?