By Alex McLeish

8th Jul, 2021 | 10:00am

Ex-manager makes 'amazing' claim as Aston Villa submit new Smith Rowe bid

Alex McLeish has admitted he is baffled Arsenal have not told Aston Villa Emile Smith Rowe is not for sale this summer.

The former Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the Gunners need to issue a hands-off statement after two bids from Villa.

As revealed by Football Insider on Tuesday (July 6th), Villa are set to table a third offer for Smith-Rowe after bids of £25million and 30million were rebuffed.

However, a Villa source has told this site Arsenal have not given a definitive ‘no’ to the Midlands giants’ pursuit and the door is ajar for a deal.

McLeish heralded the attacking midfielder for the impact he made during the 2020/21 campaign.

He admitted he could not fathom why Arsenal had not ruled out his sale in negotiations.

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McLeish told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “It’s amazing. There’s obviously something in the water.

“I would have thought that, with the impact he made at Arsenal last year, Arteta would just say it’s not going to happen.

“But it seems the fact that Villa have raised the bar again in terms of price, something still is in the offing.

“I still don’t know why Arsenal haven’t said: ‘He’s not for sale, go away. He’s part of our future and we’re going forward.’

“I really can’t understand that.”

Smith Rowe was a standout performer for Arsenal last term, contributing four goals and seven assists in 33 appearances.

He has played a total of 45 times since breaking through the youth ranks in north London.

In other news, Arsenal hero backs Gunners to blow big-spending rivals away and land blockbuster signing.