Premier League • England

Arteta brutally told ultimate Arsenal signing will elude him, as eye-watering price tag suggested

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta has been warned that he might have to admit defeat in his hunt to sign Douglas Luiz from Aston Villa, with Arsenal set to be quoted an astronomical fee for the midfielder.

Luiz is understood to be Arteta’s ideal target to bolster the midfield as he looks to replace the injury-prone Thomas Partey and the ageing Jorginho. Arsenal have pursued him in the past and are once again on his trail as they aim to make the squad Premier League title-worthy, having fallen to Manchester City in the final weeks of last season.

However, it will certainly not be easy for the Gunners to strike an agreement. Villa boss Unai Emery has already explained how he wants to keep Luiz for the long run. After all, having the Brazilian in midfield will be key if Emery and Villa are to reach their goal of getting into the top four.

Reports have suggested that Arsenal will need to pay upwards of £60million in order to sign Luiz this winter.

Although, former Liverpool and Nottingham Forest striker Stan Collymore – a self-confessed Villa supporter – thinks it will be harder than that.

In his column for CaughtOffside, the pundit has predicted Arsenal will fail in their pursuit of the 25-year-old, as Villa will want similar to the £105m West Ham United held out for Declan Rice.

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‘I don’t think there’s any chance of Douglas Luiz going to Arsenal in January because Villa will be after the kind of money that I don’t think Arsenal would be prepared to pay,’ Collymore wrote.

‘They’ve just spent £100m on Declan Rice, and I think that Villa would be turning around and saying that’s the kind of money we want, thereby making it a non-starter.’

Arsenal tipped for double transfer frustration

Another prime target for Arsenal is Brentford’s Ivan Toney, but Collymore has provided a rather concerning Arsenal verdict on the striker, too.

‘Brentford won’t be in a relegation scrap so I think that they can afford to turn around to Ivan Toney and say, “look, we’ve been really loyal to you over the gambling stuff, we’re not going to let you go in January, but we will let you go at the end of the season.”‘

Arsenal do have alternatives in mind, in case Luiz and Toney end up staying at their current clubs. Gunners recruitment chiefs have identified RB Leipzig forward Benjamin Sesko as a potential signing.

And in midfield, reports in Spain have revealed Arsenal to be battling Barcelona for the capture of Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi.

The only trouble for Arteta in both of those cases is that Sesko and Zubimendi do not have Premier League experience, which means it will take them longer than Luiz and Toney to adapt to life at the Emirates. It remains to be seen how important this factor is for Arteta when Arsenal look to finally nail down their January signings.

Meanwhile, an Arsenal target was left angry and disappointed when a transfer to Manchester United failed to materialise in the summer, as per one journalist.