Premier League • England

Premier League star tells friends he wants move to Arsenal ahead of January window as price tag emerges – report

Douglas Luiz under pressure from Jean-Philippe Mateta of Crystal Palace FC takes the ball past Douglas Luiz of Aston Villa FC during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Aston Villa at Selhurst Park, London

Arsenal have reportedly been boosted with a top summer target clearing the path to make a move to Emirates Stadium in the winter window.

The Gunners have made an excellent start to the new season, winning six of their first seven matches. Indeed, their only defeat came in their last Premier League game, a 3-1 reversal at in-form Manchester United. Despite that, Mikel Arteta’s side sit nicely on top of the Premier League table with 15 points from their six games played.

That form means the club go into the enforced weekend break with a spring in their step. And the feel-good factor about the club has strengthened belief they could break back into the top four this season. As such, one pundit reckons they look the strongest challengers to title favourites Manchester City this season.

While a title push does look unlikely, there are no doubts that this remains an excellent start to the season for Arsenal.

The Gunners made a total of five summer signings, spending just over £118m in the process. And their biggest arrival, Gabriel Jesus, has made the biggest impact, scoring three times and weighing in with three assists.

Arteta has also been boosted at the back by the loan return of William Saliba. Playing in all six Premier League games after debuting at Crystal Palace on the opening weekend, the Frenchman has been like a new signing for Arsenal.

However, the one area Arsenal failed to strengthen was their central midfield. That was one area Arteta was looking to bolster and increase competition for places.

Arsenal’s first-choice pair are Granot Xhaka and Thomas Partey. And with Mohamed Elneny and Albert Sambi Lokonga in reserve, Arteta certainly has options.

Arsenal ready to make fresh Douglas Luiz raid

However, it was certainly an area Arteta tried to strengthen. To that end, Arsenal saw a £20m-plus deadline day move for Douglas Luiz rejected by Aston Villa.

Explaining the decision to snub his sale, Villa boss Steven Gerrard has come clean on the approach and claims the Brazilian understands why the offer fell short.

But with under 10 months left on his deal, Villa know they face a difficult time in retaining Luiz’s services much longer.

Indeed, the midfielder will be eligible to hold talks with interested overseas suitors from January 1. To that end, Juventus are reportedly willing to offer Villa an intriguing swap offer for one of their controversial forwards.

However, as per Football Insider, Luiz has told friends he’s still intent on joining the Gunners.

They claim that, after seeing their deadline day approach knocked back, Arsenal chiefs are keeping an open dialogue with Luiz and his agent.

Now they report that the midfielder has told those closest to him that he wants to join the Gunners in January.

Villa rate the midfielder at between the £30m – £40m mark. But with just six months left on his deal come January, they will have a hard time getting anywhere near the going rate.

As such, a deal in the region of £15m will reportedly be on the agenda.

Villa left with little choice but to sell

Luiz is a hugely popular figure at Aston Villa and a player who Gerrard has come to rely on.

But with time ticking away on his deal and an extension not likely to be signed, Villa will have little choice but to sell in January.

That will come as a huge loss to Gerrard, who will already be scouring the market for a replacement.

Douglas Luiz, though, has started just twice in the Premier League this season, amid uncertainty over his future.

As a result, the nine-cap Brazil international was not named in Tite’s latest international squad. That will come as a big blow to the midfielder. As a result, he will reportedly feel a move will help take his career on to the next level.

A January move will not help his World Cup chances, though, this year. However, it will help maximise his prospects of not missing out in future tournaments.

Arsenal also have a large number of Brazilians already at the club. Jesus, Gabriel Magalhaes and Gabriel Martinelli are already well established. They also signed Marquinhos over the summer from Sao Paulo.

READ MORE: Ranking the 17 Brazilian signings Arsenal have made in the Premier League era