Arsenal, Liverpool plans for January transfer disrupted by old enemy who’s got ideal midfielder and ex-Gunner in his sights

Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz battling Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka

A midfield target of great interest to both Arsenal and Liverpool is in the sights of a familiar foe who’s drawn up a three-man shortlist of January options, per a report.

The Gunners and Reds both had unfinished business last summer in the same department. Fabrizio Romano reported Arsenal will push in January to add to their central midfield ranks after coming up short over the summer.

Liverpool, meanwhile, are in desperate need of an overhaul in central areas.

Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner are all out of contract next year. Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson are both the wrong side of 30.

The Reds are firmly entrenched in the race to sign Borussia Dortmund superstar Jude Bellingham. However, even if they are able to sign the England starter, more additions will be required.

One ready-made player of interest to both Liverpool and Arsenal is Douglas Luiz.

Mikel Arteta’s side saw three bids knocked back by Aston Villa in the last window. Per the Times, the final offer totalled £25m.

CalciomercatoWeb recently put Liverpool in the frame to sign the Brazilian. His age (24) and the fact he’s Premier League-proven makes him an enticing prospect for the Reds.

What’s more, Luiz is out of contract at season’s end and all the signs point towards him departing Villa Park.

However, according to Italian journalist Rudi Galetti, Liverpool and Arsenal have new competition for Luiz.

He reports old enemy Jose Mourinho and his Roma side like what they see from Luiz too.

Galetti tweeted Luiz is one of three midfielders Mourinho will explore moves for in January.

The others are Lyon’s Houssem Aouar and former Gunner Dani Ceballos who plays for Real Madrid.

The common theme among that trio is they’re all out of contract in 2023. As such, all could be available for a fraction of their true value in January if their respective clubs decide to cash in at last call.

Arsenal, Liverpool midfields could soon be a man light

The two clubs don’t lack for midfield options. However, the quality and viability of some of their lesser options is open to debate.

Indeed, the Reds signed Juventus’ Arthur Melo on loan late in the summer window. The Brazilian has a £33m option in his deal Liverpool could trigger, but Jurgen Klopp has reportedly already seen enough.

TuttoJuve reported Liverpool have already decided against activating it – even if he performs well later in the season.

The ‘last straw’ that sparked that decision was Arthur’s latest injury that’s ruled him out until after Christmas. Injuries and Arthur Melo have unfortunately gone hand in hand in recent times and Liverpool don’t want to bring that issue on board.

Arsenal, meanwhile, don’t appear all that impressed by £17.1m signing, Albert Sambi Lokonga.

The Belgian rarely gets a look in in the Premier League and there’s been talk of including him in a swap deal for Juventus’ Manuel Locatelli.

In sharp contrast, Douglas Luiz would represent a ready-made option for both sides. However, if either do make a move in January, they may have to run the Mourinho gauntlet.

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