Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is refusing to take no for an answer and will reportedly stop at nothing to secure the signing of Douglas Luiz in January, despite Aston Villa’s apparent refusal to discuss a possible sale.
The Gunners are back on top of the Premier League and dreaming once again of title glory after narrowly missing out last season. But after seeing the relentless machine that is Manchester City ultimately wear them in 2022/23, Arteta knows that some solid January investments can further aid Arsenal chances.
Despite only suffering one defeat in the Premier League so far this season – that being the controversial 1-0 defeat at Newcastle – Arteta knows his squad still contains may flaws.
To that end, Robbie Savage has this week urged Arsenal to go all out and sign one of three striker options capable of bagging them more goals to strengthen their prospects.
And the concept that Arsenal need a more reliable goalscoring option in their ranks is a common one, with Savage just one of several observers urging Arteta to spend big on a new No 9.
But Arteta has gone on record to strongly state his belief that his current options of Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah are good enough.
And having been a part of Man City’s coaching set-up that regularly won Premier League titles playing without a recognised No 9, or with Jesus their only central striking option, it seems Arteta’s focus is very much focused on strengthening other areas of his squad.
Indeed, Arteta has reportedly made it plain to the Arsenal board that is on strengthening his midfield options that has to take priority over the next two transfer windows.
Arteta desperate to move on Thomas Partey
That’s because Jorginho and Mohamed Elneny are both out contract next summer and appear destined to depart either at the end of the current campaign, or potentially sooner if an acceptable agreement is tabled.
However, according to ESPN, it is another midfield enforcer Arteta is desperate to move on first – Thomas Partey.
The Gunners paid a hefty £45m to sign Partey from Atletico Madrid on deadline day 2020.
The deal upset Atleti boss Diego Simeone at the time, given the deal only went through with minutes to spare and prevented him the opportunity of bolstering his own squad in return.
Since then Partey has gone on to make 104 appearances for the Gunners, scoring five times.
He did form a solid partnership with Granit Xhaka last season as Arsenal finished second.
But this season, Partey’s form has tailed off dramatically, while the Ghanaian has also struggled with his fitness.
Contracted to the club until 2025, it’s reported Arteta is keen to offload the player now while he still retains some value.
And given the 30-year-old is one of the club’s highest earners on a package worth £230,000 a week, his sale is seen as one that makes a great deal of sense to the Gunners boss.
Finding a suitor to take him off their hands should not prove difficult with Juventus among those keen and with clubs in Saudi Arabia also paying attention to his apparent availability.
Arsenal hell bent on signing Douglas Luiz
In his place, Arteta is desperate to get his hands on Douglas Luiz, who has proved one of the Premier League’s best midfielders so far this season.
Having scored six goals and created two others from 19 appearances so far this season, becoming a real leader in Unai Emery’s Aston Villa side.
And having seen two bids to sign Luiz turned down by Villa in summer 2022, Arteta is now ready to launch a fresh approach to bring in the Brazilian star in a deal that could cost a minimum £80m.
That said, Emery has made clear his wish to retain Luiz’s services, stating on Sunday after their 2-1 win at Tottenham: “He’s playing very good. He’s improved a lot, his commitment is amazing.
“I am very happy with him and I want to keep him of course. I think he’s happy with us.
“He’s coming on with his national team. And his performance like today was amazing. I want him.”
Nonetheless, ESPN reports that Arsenal are ready to test Villa’s resolve with a firm bid and that Arteta is hell bent on securing his signing for Arsenal.
The Gunners boss believes a midfield partnership alongside club-record signing Declan Rice would take the Gunners to the next level and help to finally wrestle the title from City’s grasp.
And with Arteta apparently refusing to take no for an answer, their quest to get their hands on Luiz looks set to be one of the major talking points of the January window.