The Gunners have already rejected multiple offers from Villa for Smith Rowe, who established himself as a key member of Mikel Arteta’s squad last season.
Aston Villa are prepared to return with an improved bid and Petit, who won the Premier League with Arsenal in 1998, is ‘not surprised’ that Premier League clubs have expressed interest in signing the 20-year-old.
He wants Smith Rowe to stay at the Emirates but insists Arsenal need to ‘give him some answers’ this summer in terms of outlining their ambitions with a few significant signings.
‘As a club, you need to show your players that you are ambitious,’ former Gunners midfielder Petit told Metro.co.uk.
‘In terms of improvement, competition and ambition, it’s very important to send them a signal. Arsenal have been sliding down the table for five or six years.
‘When is it going to finish? That means if I am an Arsenal player, I will be very conscious about what the club is doing in the market, who are the new players, who is leaving the club, and in the end I’ll make a conclusion.
‘If the club is spending money on good players with character, maybe that shows they want to send a signal to the team that this season will be different to the last few seasons. That they want to get back to the level they were at before.
‘Players will look at that and compare with other teams, then make a conclusion very easily. If Arsenal don’t have the team to compete for the Champions League positions, it’s going to be the same as last year and the year before.
‘Emile Smith Rowe is not stupid, he will be looking at guys like Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish enjoying their football with the national team, all smiling on the pitch and very relaxed with the pressure and the ambitions of their clubs and the national team. Smith Rowe will want to be the same.
‘The fact that Aston Villa are interested in him is not a surprise because are they avoided relegation last year, this season was brilliant for them.
‘They’ve got so many young players, all enjoying their football, and Smith Rowe will be aware of that.
‘He will have had some questions in his mind and I hope Arsenal gave him the answers he was expecting in terms of the transfer market and ambitions for next season.
‘If this season is the same season we’ve seen from Arsenal for the last couple of years, forget it. They’re going to lose so many players at the end of the season.’
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