Premier League • England

Aston Villa willing to sanction Arsenal sale as Gerrard picks out two superior upgrades

Steven Gerrard speaking with Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz

Arsenal are expected to bid for Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz this summer, and a report has stated Steven Gerrard’s side could sell as they already have two superior upgrades in mind.

Arsenal’s hopes of securing Champions League football have suffered a hammerblow in the last seven days. The Gunners lost successive matches to Crystal Palace and Brighton to put Tottenham in pole position to snag fourth spot.

Mikel Arteta has been boosted by the lack of European football this season. That has ensured Arsenal have not endured the type of fixture pile-up and injury crisis that can come with extended European campaigns.

However, Arsenal’s squad depth has been exposed this week following injuries to Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey.

Those absences meant Granit Xhaka had to deputise at left-back against the Seagulls. Removing him – along with Partey – from the engine room also severely weakened the Gunners in the middle of the pitch.

It has been a poignant reminder that Arsenal remain a work in progress and that the club still have work to do in the summer window.

As such, Football Insider state Arsenal are ‘expected to bid’ for Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz.

The Brazilian, 23, has regularly been namechecked alongside a future move to the Emirates. He has been a key component in Villa’s eleven under Steven Gerrard. Though it’s indicated Villa would actually be on board with selling.

Villa eye two Douglas Luiz upgrades

That’s because Aston Villa are looking to make a splash in the position with a raid for either Brighton’s Yves Bissouma or Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips. Both would be an upgrade on Luiz.

It’s noted Arsenal’s main priority in the market will be addressing their centre-forward position.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wasn’t replaced after moving to Barcelona in January. Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah, meanwhile, will both be free agents when the season concludes.

However, making additions in central midfield is also a hot topic at the Emirates. Mohamed Elneny is also due to leave as a free agent.

Even if Arsenal do fail to finish fourth, it appears highly likely they’ll qualify for either the Europa League or Europa Conference League.

Adequate squad depth will therefore be required, especially in a position as important as central midfield.