Arsenal have reportedly opened talks with Emile Smith Rowe over an extension to his contract following his impressive season in North London.
The 20-year-old attacking midfielder, who came through the academy at the Gunners before being sent on two loan spells, has become an important part of the first-team under Mikel Arteta, making 16 appearances in the Premier League so far in the current campaign.
Smith Rowe's existing deal doesn't expire for another two years, but it is believed the Arsenal are keen to ensure he remains at the club for a long time to come.
And according to The Athletic they have begun negotiations over a new deal, and are confident he will put pen to paper in the near future along with fellow young prospect Folarin Balogun.
It comes after Smith Rowe was singled out for praise by Arsenal legend Nwankwo Kanu, with the former Nigerian striker recently naming him as one of two standout figures this season.
He told Ladbrokes: "There are two names which spring to mind as far as Arsenal’s player of the season goes; Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka.
"They offer the team so much through their versatility. Saka can play in so many positions, and when he’s not playing, you can see the side struggles without him.
"Smith Rowe is a very good player. He can open up games and Arsenal definitely need him to play more in the next few years.
"These two, for me, have been the best players for Arsenal this season – they can’t afford for either of those two players to get injured."
Smith Rowe will hope to have a big part to play in the Gunners' upcoming Europa League semi-final with Villarreal, with the first leg of the tie taking place in Spain on Thursday.
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