An Aston Villa midfielder Arsenal bid three times for is poised to be the subject of a cash-plus-player offer from Barcelona that’ll make Unai Emery pause for thought, per a report.
Emery has enjoyed a fine start to life as manager of Aston Villa. The Spaniard was drafted in to replace Steven Gerrard with Villa sliding perilously close to the relegation places.
While Villa did bow out of the EFL Cup to Manchester United, they sunk the Red Devils in the league and beat another top half team in Brighton on Sunday.
Midfielder Douglas Luiz has started all three of Emery’s matches in charge thus far. The Brazilian destroyer has and will continue to be an important part of the engine room at Villa Park – unless Barcelona come calling.
Italian outlet Calciomercato report Villa are poised to receive an intriguing cash-plus-player offer for the 24-year-old in January.
The publication are reporting on a potential transfer between LaLiga and Premier League clubs due to two reasons.
Firstly, Luiz remains a target for two Serie A sides – Juventus and AC Milan. Secondly, the player Barcelona are willing to serve up as a makeweight used to play for Milan – Franck Kessie.
The report Barcelona are seeking a new central midfielder in the winter window and Luiz is in their sights.
Sergio Busquets is due to depart at season’s end, while Kessie has rarely got a look in since arriving on a free from Milan last summer.
With rising duo Gavi and Pedri playing on each side of a midfield three, Barca boss Xavi wants a stable operator anchoring the midfield and Luiz fits the bill.
Can Barcelona succeed where Arsenal failed?
The Aston Villa star was the subject of three failed Arsenal bids during the last window. Villa stood firm and ultimately convinced Luiz to pen a contract extension in October that committed his future until to the club until 2026.
There is no indication in the report Villa are anything other than reluctant to sell Luiz so soon after fresh terms were penned. However, the structure of Barcelona’s reported looming offer may make Emery pause for thought.
Aside from getting a direct replacement in Kessie in any deal, Villa would also receive a cash sum on top. Precisely how much Barca are willing to throw in isn’t stated.
Luiz is still wanted by Milan and Juventus, though a Kessie-plus-cash proposal is described as ‘changing everything’. In other words, it’d stand more chance of success than a straight money bid from one of the Italian pair.
Kessie, 25, has less than 500 minutes of action to his name since moving to the Camp Nou.
However, it’s important to remember he was an integral part of a Milan side that were crowned Serie A champions just one year ago.
His best days still lay ahead and if he is included in any cash-plus-player offer for Luiz, Villa may not dismiss it out of hand.