Arsenal intend to launch a January bid for an Aston Villa ace who is ‘perfect’ for Mikel Arteta, though The Gunners will be put in their place, per reports.
Midfield remains an area of the pitch Arteta is not yet satisfied with at The Emirates. Declan Rice has made an instant impact and is not the problem. However, Kai Havertz has flopped thus far and there are varying issues surrounding Thomas Partey, Jorginho and Mohamed Elneny.
Partey continues to struggle with injuries and has been limited to just five appearances this season. What’s more, both he and Elneny could be absent for up to a month when the Africa Cup of Nations gets underway on January 13.
But per the player’s agent, talks over activating that option are “at a standstill”. In other words, Jorginho may be on course to leave in the summer.
Clearly, a new midfielder at Arsenal is required sooner rather than later and per The Mirror, Arteta wants a new signing made in January. Indeed, the outlet stated a new central midfielder has become the club’s ‘number one’ priority for the winter window.
Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz is a player Arsenal have admired for several years. The Gunners tried and failed with three separate bids for the Brazilian back in 2022. The biggest of the three was worth £25m.
Villa refused to budge and ultimately convinced the 25-year-old to sign a long-term contract running until 2026.
The decision has been vindicated with Luiz going on to become one of the Premier League’s finest holding midfielders. Villa are also very much a club on the rise and harbour genuine ambitions of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Arsenal to meet Villa brick wall for Luiz
Nonetheless, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano recently insisted Arsenal’s interest in Luiz isn’t going away.
“I mentioned the name of Douglas Luiz last week as the top target for Arsenal, and I can confirm guys that Arsenal really, really want and appreciate Douglas Luiz,” Romano told Caught Offside.
“He’s a player they’ve had on their list for more than two years, and Arsenal consider him the perfect midfielder for their way of playing, for his intensity and for the quality he can bring.”
Now, a fresh update from The Evening Standard has doubled down on claims Arsenal will launch a new approach for Luiz in January. However, like in 2022, their pursuit looks doomed to fail.
The Standard state Arsenal’s interest has been ‘reignited’, though they ‘will find it hard’ to prise Luiz out of Villa Park.
The fact Villa’s bargaining position has been strengthened by Luiz signing his new contract is a key reason as to why.
Unai Emery views Luiz as a crucial component in his project at Villa and will be reluctant in the extreme to sever ties.
TEAMtalk revealed on November 10 that Villa would not even consider a sale for anything less than £60m. That is a price point Arsenal will struggle to meet in the January window owing to Financial Fair Play constraints.
In any case, even if Arsenal were to lodge a £60m-plus bid, Villa are well-placed to send them packing.