Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz has reportedly emerged as a shock target for Arsenal, with Mikel Arteta keen on a holding midfielder.
According to ESPN, Arsenal are in the market for Douglas Luiz. The Aston Villa midfielder has emerged as the latest player to have been identified as a target for the Gunners, as Mikel Arteta continues his search for a holding midfielder this January.
It appears the Arsenal manager is wary of his team’s lack of depth in midfield, especially with Thomas Partey set to join the Ghanaian camp for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations. It leaves Arteta devoid of options in the middle of the park, with Granit Xhaka and Albert Sambi Lokonga the only two candidates competing for the two places.
Other options include Mohamed Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But Elneny is facing an uncertain future at the club amid interest from Newcastle United, whereas Maitland-Niles is closing in on a January move to AS Roma.
As a result, Arsenal have set their sights on Douglas Luiz, who has enjoyed a healthy spell at Villa Park since joining the club in 2019. He has notched up almost 100 competitive appearances for Aston Villa, impressing the onlookers with his work ethic and the ability to read the game.
The 23-year-old’s fortunes have not changed under new coach Steven Gerrard, although the former Rangers boss has certainly employed the midfielder in a slightly more attacking role. His partnership with John McGinn has indeed played a crucial role behind Aston Villa’s success over the past couple of years. And it appears Arsenal believe he can replicate the same level of success alongside Partey at the Emirates.
Having worked with him during his time at Manchester City, Arteta is already familiar with the Brazilian’s skill-set. But he might not be an easy target, especially with Aston Villa reportedly slapping a hefty €35 million price tag for the services of their star midfielder.
It could potentially rule Arsenal out of the chase, forcing them to explore other cost-effective alternatives such as Franck Kessie. The Ivorian’s contract at AC Milan expires at the end of the season, thus making him a free agent in the summer. Arsenal, though, are set to face stiff competition from a number of clubs in the pursuit of the talented midfielder, including Tottenham.