By Alex McLeish

24th Jun, 2021 | 4:00pm

McLeish stunned by Aston Villa spending power amid source update on new Smith-Rowe bid

Alex McLeish has raved as Aston Villa plot a big-money bid to sign Emile Smith-Rowe from Arsenal this summer.

The former Villa boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested his old side would have to break the bank to prise the 20-year-old from the Gunners.

As revealed by Football Insider on Monday (June 21st), Villa are preparing a second bid of £30million for Smith-Rowe after having a £25million offer rejected.

A club source has since told this site Villa will go even higher if needed to get the young playmaker on board.

McLeish admitted he had been blown away by the Arsenal starlet’s “artistry” on the ball during the 2020/21 campaign.

As such, he suggested there would be a hefty price tag for Villa to pay.

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McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “I wish when I was there I got that kind of money. He’s a brilliant player.

“I’ve been really, really impressed by him and it’s no surprise that another team has come in for him.

“Arsenal won’t want to lose their best players and they can afford not to lose their best players. That money would probably not be enough for most of their players.

“He’s a new kid on the block. He had a brilliant season. Every time I saw him getting the ball he looked a little bit ungainly.

“But when he moved, his artistry with the ball was fantastic.”

Smith-Rowe scored four goals and contributed seven goals in 33 appearances for Arsenal last term.

He has a total of 47 first-team appearances under his belt at the Emirates Stadium.

In other news, Aston Villa chiefs fear they have made a big mistake over marquee signing.