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Arsenal wonder-kid Emile Smith-Rowe rejected offers from Barcelona, Chelsea and Tottenham among other big European teams to sign a professional contract at Arsenal, according to the Telegraph.
The young midfielder had the choice of leaving Arsenal on his 16th birthday as he had become eligible to sign a professional contract with any club, but he decided to stick with the club he has played for since he was 10, as he was “intent on living out his dream of one day playing and scoring for the first team”.
His faith has now been rewarded as he lived that dream last week when he scored for the first team in their Europa league fixture against Qarabag, becoming the first player born in 2000 or later to score for the club.
Speaking after the game, he said “I feel delighted, obviously it is something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, scoring my first goal for the club. I scored in pre-season but last night it felt so different and I am just so happy.
“I am really enjoying it. I was enjoying it before but I am getting chances and I am so grateful that the gaffer has got faith in me. I just want to keep improving and keep getting minutes.”
Getting minutes is something that is very likely to continue, with Unai Emery looking set to give him a lot of opportunities in the Europa League and Cup games as he has so far impressed with the opportunities he has been given.