Whilst the rules dictate that a club must not contact a player or their representatives without the permission of his current club, this is unworkable in the real world.
If a team is looking at signing a player, they need to know said player is interested. Otherwise they could be wasting a lot if time negotiating and agreeing a fee with the selling club to only find out their target has no interest in joining.
So Aston Villa are reportedly coming back in with a 3rd bid for Emile Smith Rowe having already made 2 very public bids. They seem determined to sign their man.
To still be chasing Smith Rowe, they must have got assurances from the midfielders “people” that he would be interested in joining them.
Now it might be a negotiating tactic, an attempt to drive up the value of his new contract. But it also might be that Smith Rowe feels now is the right time to leave Arsenal.
So having had a huge break through last year, just why would Smith Rowe be looking to leave the club he grow up playing for?
First Team Football
It is no secret that Arsenal are looking at adding extra creativity going forward.
To put bluntly, the club are trying to sign a number 10 better than Smith Rowe.
They tried to do it in January with the loan signing of Martin Odergaard, but the Englishman arguably out performed him.
Having had a sniff of regular first team football, perhaps he does not want to go back to sitting on the bench in the same way Emi Martinez did not last summer.
Aston Villa have already signed Emi Buendia; but the former Norwich player has tended to play out wide.
Spending big on Buendia and Smith Rowe would probably be funded by the departure of Jack Grealish. Smith Rowe would be coming in as Grealish’s direct replacement. Straight into the first team.
World Cup 2022
There is a World Cup at the end of next year.
England have an abundance of attacking midfielder with the likes of Grealish, Phil Foden, Mason Mount and James Maddison.
Smith Rowe has an outside chance of making the squad for that World Cup, but as long as he is playing regular football.
Playing second fiddle to (for example) Maddison at Arsenal would severely restrict his chances of making that squad.
But playing week in week out for Villa, putting in the kind of performances he has for Arsenal in the last 6 months. He would have a chance of being on the plane to Qatar.
Smith Rowe needs regular football to be on the plane.
In years gone past, the bigger clubs could keep hold of their second string players due to the wages they were on.
Someone like Smith Rowe would have earned more sitting on Arsenal’s bench than playing week in week out for someone like Villa.
Smith Rowe is reportedly on £20,000 a week at Arsenal.
In recent months Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka both agreed new deals in the region of £80,000 a week.
Smith Rowe is probably the level below them at the moment, so you would be surprised if the new offer on the table to him was any more than £60,000 a week.
Arsenal have a wage structure and paying him much more than that, as a “2nd string” player, and someone with such little experience would upset the apple cart too much.
£60,000 a week would already put him into the same ball park as more established players like of Rob Holding, Mo Elneny and Gabriel Magalhaes.
Were he to go to Aston Villa, and go straight into the first team, he would expect to earn at least £60,000. Maybe more.
Buendia signed on an £80,000 a week deal. Tyrone Mings and Ollie Watkins are reportedly on similar.
So where as 3 or 4 years ago someone like Villa would be offering Smith Rowe less money, but first team football; they can now offer parity or more plus the first team football.
A better chance of first team football, opening the door to making the World Cup 2022 squad and pay parity. You can kind of begin to understand why Smith Rowe would be open to a move to Aston Villa.
Ultimately his agents flirting might just be an attempt to get more money out of Arsenal – closer to what we pay Saka and Martinelli.
I am sure it will all play out in the next 7 days.