Exclusive – Arsenal are considering a move for Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz, amid renewed interest from Manchester City.
Luiz left City to join the Villans in a deal worth around £15m at the start of the season, and his stand-out performances have led to talk of a swift return to the Etihad Stadium – especially given that they were reluctant to let him go in the first place.
The Citizens wanted Luiz to remain at the club in the summer of 2019, but his failure to secure a work permit meant they opted to sell him to Villa. As previously reported by 90min however, the former Premier League champions were able to insert a buy-back clause in the deal, and they are becoming more intent on activating it with each passing week.
City are not the only interested party, however. Sources have told 90min that the Gunners have established him as a target, with coach Mikel Arteta remaining a long-standing admirer of the defensive midfielder from his own time in Manchester.
Arteta will be hoping that his Etihad connections, stemming from his four-year spell as Guardiola’s assistant, can benefit the Gunners in their negotiations, as they look to strengthen their squad on a limited budget for next season.
City themselves have several options. They may opt to trigger the buy-back and keep Luiz as part of their own squad, or could bring the player back and send him out on loan for a period of time – that is if they bring him back at all.
It is though no secret that City have been looking to reinforce their midfield options ahead of the 2020/21 campaign, and the Villa star would help shore up the defensive frailties in Guardiola’s side.
The former Vasco de Gama star has thrived in a relegation-threatened Villa side, and his superb displays of late – particularly in the 1-0 win over Arsenal on Tuesday night – have handed his team a lifeline in beating the drop.
Arteta will have been impressed by Luiz’s recent performances and progress at Premier League level, and he is also well aware of the now-Brazil international’s credentials from their time spent together at Man City.
Arsenal are ready to rejuvenate their midfield after a testing season, with the likes of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi both candidates to depart the Emirates Stadium, leaving room for a new recruit in the transfer window.