Premier League • England

Arteta’s ‘one to watch’ as path clears for Arsenal raid on Villa, with Gerrard nailing costly replacement

Mason Mount tangles with Douglas Luiz during Aston Villa v Chelsea in Premier League game at Villa Park

Arsenal are seemingly growing ever hopeful of signing Douglas Luiz with Aston Villa unlikely to stand in the player’s way this summer.

The Brazilian’s name first appeared on the Gunners’ radar during the January transfer window. With Mikel Arteta on the lookout for new midfielders, Luiz’s name emerged as a solid target for Arsenal. Indeed, reports claim Villa rejected a near £30m for the star last month amid links to both Arsenal and Tottenham.

However, with Tottenham since signing Rodrigo Bentancur – ironically a target for Villa – the path looks likely to be clear for Arsenal to make their move.

And with the midfielder now having just 17 months left on his deal at Villa Park, talks over an extension are yet to bear fruit.

As such, the Birmingham Mail indicates that a sizeable offer from Arsenal will likely see Villa cash in.

Furthermore, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano claims Luiz is a player that may well be on the move this summer.

Deal with Villa unlikely to be extended

“Douglas Luiz is one to watch in the summer,” Romano told his podcast.

“Arsenal need a midfielder, they wanted a midfielder in January. Also because Mohamed Elneny will leave the club so they need a player in that position.

“Douglas Luiz is one to watch. Not only for Arsenal, they have an interest, but I’m not convinced he will extend his contract with Aston Villa, so he could be a big name on the market this summer.

Arsenal and Tottenham battling for Aston Villa midfielder

Arsenal and Tottenham battling for Aston Villa midfielder

Arsenal and Tottenham want Douglas Luiz from Aston Villa

“So keep an eye on Douglas Luiz, not only for Arsenal, but they have his name on the list.”

Luiz has been a mainstay in the Villa side since his £15m move from Manchester City in 2019.

This season, the Brazilian has featured in 17 of Villa’s 22 Premier League games and has been an ever-present under Gerrard.

Douglas Luiz out, Yves Bissouma in at Villa

Gerrard though is seemingly willing to sanction his departure providing he can secure Yves Bissouma as a replacement.

The Brighton man – like Luiz – has just 17 months left on his deal.

And while he will likely cost in the region of £50m, Gerrard has made no secret of his wish to sign the Malian.

“It was well documented that we put in a bid for Bissouma at Brighton which was turned away,” Gerrard outlined, “and we respected and appreciated it.

“If a move is not right then we will not become desperate and make decisions that we do not think is right. If it’s not right at the time we might have to be patient in a few situations.”

While not naming Bissouma as their primary target, reports suggest he is the one man Gerrard wants to nail down.

On their quest to upgrade their midfield, Gerrard added: “Pre-window and during the window we were probably linked with 12 holding midfielders. It’s a position we’re looking to add in.

“I’m not going to be a manager who will try to be wasteful or compromise in certain situations. I won’t go down the list [of targets]. I believe our fans and this club deserves the right people in the right positions. If that’s the case and we have to be patient then we’ll do it.

“The support I’ve had during the first window and since I walked in the door has been brilliant. I really appreciate it. We will keep analysing the squad. And if we feel we need support in that area we’ll look for the right target.”

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