Arsenal warned Smith Rowe sale would be 'complete disaster' as Winterburn reacts to Aston Villa bids

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Arsenal allowing Emile Smith Rowe to leave would be a "complete disaster" says Nigel Winterburn, with Aston Villa having two bids knocked back for the 20-year-old.

The Gunners have a prized academy graduate tied to a contract through to 2023 and are hoping to put fresh terms in place this summer.

Those plans are being disrupted by unwelcome attention, with Premier League rivals Villa pushing hard to get another creative influence onto their books.

What has been said?

Former Arsenal full-back Winterburn, speaking in association with NetBet, feels the Gunners would be making a mistake if they sanction a sale, telling Goal: "If we were to let him go it would be a disaster, it would send out completely the wrong messages to our supporters.

"He's a young player who's had his breakthrough season, he's been hugely impressive, and we cannot afford to let him go. I do genuinely believe it would have such a negative impact on the club, we've got some good attacking young talent and to sell to another Premier League club would be a complete disaster."

Who could be brought in?

While the talk around Smith Rowe rages, Mikel Arteta is looking to add another midfielder.

Ruben Neves Wolves 2020-21

Martin Odegaard will not be returning after his loan spell from Real Madrid came to a close, which has brought a number of alternative targets onto the radar.

Leicester playmaker James Maddison appears to be out of reach for the Gunners, but a move for Wolves star Ruben Neves has been mooted.

Winterburn is not convinced the Portuguese player will end up at Emirates Stadium though, saying Arsenal need a more combative performer if Granit Xhaka heads to Roma.

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The former defender added on Neves: "It's been touted a few times, there's been others mentioned in that midfield area as well. You've got to be athletic in that area, energetic and have a lot of power.

"Arsenal have to bring in someone in that midfield area and even more so if Xhaka goes because he does a steady job for Arsenal. Neves has been linked in the past, but I'm not sure if it's a route Arsenal will go down at this present time."

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