Aston Villa could sell a top midfielder to Arsenal for “£60million” next summer, according to former Villa Park forward Gabby Agbonlahor.
Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz was the subject of major interest from the Gunners late in the summer transfer window, given that he had entered the final 12 months of his contract.
However, the 24-year-old signed a new long-term deal with the club last week.
While that appears to have put all talk of a Villa Park exit on hold, Agbonlahor feels Luiz’s fresh contract could be hiding the club’s actual plan.
He told Football Insider: “Let’s be honest, Douglas Luiz wanted to leave Aston Villa because Arsenal bid and the club didn’t accept it.
“Douglas Luiz was in a great position as his contract was up in the summer.
“Sometimes, as a club, you have no choice. Even if you didn’t want to give the player a new contract you are in the position where you have to give him a new contract or he leaves on a free.
“Douglas Luiz would have been paid very, very good wages to commit to sign it.
Arsenal move still in the offing
“He’s done OK. But I don’t think, to be honest, he signed the contract because he’s totally committed to Aston Villa. I think he signed the contract because he got the wages he wanted and he worked it well for himself.
“If Villa had accepted the bid from Arsenal, he would have left without looking back.
“It suits him and it suits Villa. They’ve got him tied down so they can’t lose him on the cheap.
“It might come to the summer when they decide to sell him and Arsenal have to pay more.
“Sometimes contracts can hide what is really going on. In the summer, Luiz might go but instead of £20million it might be £50million or £60million.
“The position he’s in, he’s laughing because he’s got his wages up high. I think it suits both the club and the player, to be honest.”
Arsenal are back in action on Thursday evening when they face PSV in a rearranged Europa League clash.