Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard wants to replace Douglas Luiz with highly rated Leeds man Kalvin Phillips, according to a report.
Gerrard is hugely ambitious and wants to take Villa back into contention for European qualification. He showed his brutality in January by replacing Matt Targett with Lucas Digne.
Targett was forced to join Newcastle on loan for the remainder of the campaign. And a permanent switch is likely to go through this summer.
This stance could see Watkins end up at Arsenal and Villa sign an expensive replacement. However, it is not yet known who the west Midlands outfit would want to bring in.
Central midfielder Luis is another player who could lose out. The Daily Mail claim his place in the Villa squad is under threat.
Gerrard’s priority is to land a new holding midfielder. As such, he has set his sights on Leeds’ Phillips – even though a deal would cost upwards of £50million.
Steven Gerrard wants to replace Douglas Luiz
Such a transfer would render Brazil international Luiz surplus to requirements. He already faces competition from the likes of John McGinn, Jacob Ramsey and Marvelous Nakamba.
Earlier this month, it emerged Luiz is disgruntled with his situation at Villa Park. That’s because he wants to operate further forward than defensive midfield but is being given no other option.
Back then, Gerrard was sympathetic to his feelings. However, that view seems to have changed and the Liverpool legend is plotting his exit.
Luiz had plenty of admirers last summer, one of them being Arsenal. They came forward with a number of proposals but Villa did not want to sell at that point.
It is unclear whether the Gunners would come back in for the 23-year-old this time around. They went on to sign Albert Sambi Lokonga for £17.2m instead.
For now, Luiz will aim to impress Gerrard and his potential suitors. On Saturday, Villa face Wolves at Molineux in a west Midlands derby.
After that, Gerrard’s men come up against Tottenham on Saturday April 9.