Aston Villa have interest in signing “prolific” star who’d be Coutinho 2.0

Aston Villa have been simply exceptional this season and despite their 0-0 draw with Everton on Sunday, sit third in the top-flight.

Unai Emery has crafted a perfectly balanced unit that has earned a top-four spot in the Premier League but they won’t rest on their laurels heading into the second half of the campaign.

Indeed, the Spanish the boss will still look to improve his squad in January.

Aston Villa want to sign Premier League playmaker

According to talkSPORT journalist Alex Crook via GIVEMESPORT, Villa are still keen to sign Emile Smith Rowe.

Speaking to the publication, the reporter stated: “I’m keen to see what they [Arsenal] do with Smith Rowe because I think Aston Villa’s interest is still there.

“We know that Arsenal like Douglas Luiz, but Villa aren’t going to let him go at this moment in time because they’re competing for the top four themselves.”


The 6-foot star is seemingly surplus to requirements at Arsenal, and they could look to move him on to fund other deals.

A move this winter is likely, with the Gunners midfielder keen to get more minutes on the field.


January transfer window: All the confirmed deals from England and Scotland

It’s shaping up to be a busy month…

How Emile Smith Rowe compares to Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho’s six-month loan spell at Villa in the 2021/22 season was a success, but since moving to the Midlands permanently for £17m in the next summer, the move could be described as a disaster.

Aston Villa's Philippe Coutinho in action with Lazio's Felipe Anderson

The Brazilian featured 20 times last campaign, but he only scored once after a debut term where he registered eight goal involvements in 19 outings for the Villans. Fast forward to today, and he’s on loan to Al Duhail in Qatar.

The former Liverpool star’s profile has yet to be replaced by Emery at Villa, however, Smith Rowe could just reignite that creative spark in the side, as coincidentally, he plays like Coutinho, as scout Jacek Kulig once referred to.

Unfortunately for Smith Rowe, he has been unable to showcase his true ability due to what seems like a never-ending injury cycle, but he could reunite with Emery at Villa, the man who handed him his Arsenal debut in 2018.

The aforementioned Kulig has labelled Smith Rowe as “prolific,” and his attacking numbers from a breakout campaign in 2021/22 where he bagged ten Premier League goals showcase that.

The England U21 star is also a creator who likes to take on responsibility in the attacking third, where he can connect the midfield to attack, using his close dribbling and ball-carrying to open up the opposition (see table below). This is extremely similar to Coutinho, who displayed those attributes during his 20-goal contribution 2016/17 Premier League campaign at Liverpool.

Smith Rowe 2021/22 PL Stats

Stats (per 90)

Smith Rowe

Ranking in the PL



Top 1%



Top 2%

Progressive passes received


Top 8%

Progressive carries


Top 14%

Successful take-ons


Top 21%

Stats via FBref

Signing a goal-scoring midfielder would significantly improve Villa’s ability to score by giving them an additional threat who can crash the box. This would be particularly useful when facing a low block, which Emery has struggled against this season, as shown by the narrow 1-0 win over Middlesbrough and the 1-1 draw against Sheffield United.

Smith Rowe mainly featured as the left midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 variant during his most impressive season, and due to his technical ability, he could feature as the inverted left midfielder in the Jacob Ramsey role or as the second striker behind Ollie Watkins at Villa. Due to his intelligence and incredible link-up play, the Arsenal star could form a dangerous relationship alongside the ex-Brentford man.


The reunion between Smith Rowe and Emery could be magical, and the Spaniard would provide the 23-year-old with the perfect opportunity to revive his career.

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