However Villa are not expected to be dissuaded from chasing Smith Rowe, who they view as a potential partner for their star player rather than a replacement. Manchester City are chasing Grealish’s signature with talks expected to accelerate once his involvement in Euro 2020 is over. For their part, Villa have offered their captain a new contract and hope to prove to Grealish that he can fulfil his personal ambitions without having to end a near-20 year association with his boyhood club.
It is in that context that Villa’s interest in Smith Rowe should be viewed, with the Arsenal player another creative option that can ease the burden placed on Grealish in the final third. Dean Smith’s side also secured the signature of Emiliano Buendia from Norwich earlier this month, swooping in ahead of Arsenal for the Argentine while the Gunners were still trying to secure a loan deal for Martin Odegaard.
Villa are not alone in their admiration for Smith Rowe, whose name was raised by Real Madrid when Arsenal attempted to kickstart talks over bringing Odegaard back after his loan at the Emirates Stadium during the second half of the season. The Norwegian international has since indicated a desire to stay in Spain and fight for his place under new manager Carlo Ancelotti.
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