By Alex McLeish

1st Jul, 2021 | 6:00pm

McLeish: 'Door open' for Aston Villa to sign Smith Rowe after Athletic update

Alex McLeish has claimed the “door is still open” for Aston Villa to sign Emile Smith Rowe from Arsenal after reportedly launching a second bid.

The former Villa boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the Midlands heavyweights may have been given encouragement a deal can be struck in negotiations.

As revealed by Football Insider on June 21st, Villa were preparing a £30million bid for the attacking midfielder after a £25million offer was rebuffed.

The Athletic reported on June 28th the Villans’ second bid had also been turned down.

The Gunners are said to be in contract talks with the 20-year-old but there has been no breakthrough in negotiations.

He has two years left on his current terms in north London.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

McLeish suggested Arsenal had told Villa their offer was not enough rather than issuing a hands-off warning.

McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “It sounds like the door is still open, doesn’t it?

“When you see Villa have gone back in with an increased offer it’s almost like it’s not enough. If somebody says it’s not enough, then that means we should offer more.

“If Arsenal come out with a cutting: ‘He’s not for sale,’ then perhaps Villa won’t bother upping the ante.

“It seems like the fact that they’ve gone back in a couple of times now with an improved offer, they’ve said it’s not enough.”

“I would be very surprised because that kid burst onto the scene with amazing quality. He must have given Arsenal fans and teammates a massive boost.

“You would think that his teammates wouldn’t want to see him going and, more importantly, the punters.”

In other news, pundit predicts Aston Villa European challenge as big-money striker raid reportedly readied.