Mikel Arteta insists there was never any chance of playmaker Emile Smith Rowe signing for Aston Villa in the summer transfer window as Arsenal made it clear the player was not for sale.

The Villa identified the 21-year-old as one of their top targets at the summer transfer market and failed with two separate proposals for the Englishman.

Emile went on to put pen to paper on a lucrative five-year contract with his boyhood club and took over the iconic number 10 shirt, previously worn by the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Robin van Persie and Mesut Ozil.

The England youth international has gone on to start all but one of the Gunners’ eight matches in the Premier League this term, registering one goal and one assist.

Looking back on Dean Smith’s side’s determined pursuit of the youngster, the Spaniard told reporters:

‘Any club has the right to make an inquiry about a player and if they believe they have the financial power to get him, they are entitled to make a bid.

‘There was communication between clubs regarding Emile and we made it really clear he was not for sale.

‘I was never worried he could leave because he is a big part of our future and what we’re trying to do as a club.

‘He is really happy where he is and I’m delighted to have him in my team.’