Arsenal have made their interest for Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz known in the last day of the transfer window. The news comes just a day after Luiz himself scored directly from a corner against Arsenal in a 2-1 thriller at the Emirates. Aston Villa are keeping their stance on him not leaving firm for now. Could that just be a ploy to get Arsenal to pay up more considering Luiz has under a year left on his contract?
Arsenal have been linked with Luiz before but the move never came to fruition. He certainly isn’t a panic signing and is someone Arteta knows well. Their paths crossed once before already at Man City. City signed Luiz from Vasco de Gama in 2017. but work permit issues prevented him from ever playing a game for them other than in friendly pre-season matches. Guardiola and City really pushed for the work permit but could not get it over the line. Luiz went on to Girona before making a switch to Aston Villa in 2019.
When word reached Pep Guardiola in 2018 that work-permit issues were preventing Douglas Luiz from playing for #ManCity, he sent video footage to the Home Office explaining how the midfielder would be important to his side in the months and years ahead.
— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) January 19, 2021
Why are Arsenal pushing for his signature?
5 games into the season and Arsenal are crippled with injuries in one specific position. Partey has re-aggravated the same area (right thigh) for the third time since he came to England and Elneny is thought to have suffered a significant injury versus Fulham.
Despite both Lokonga and Xhaka being capable of filling in as a number six, the move for Luiz would suggest that Arteta sees their importance elsewhere, Xhaka in particular who at times looks like he should be the first name in the starting eleven for Arsenal in his new-old left interior position.
As far as Lokonga goes, there were some murmurings in pre-season that Arsenal see him as a future number eight rather than a six. Lokonga even had stints as the deep playmaker at the base of a 4-3-3 towards the end of last season where he deputised for injured Partey before being replaced by the more experienced Elneny later on. It has to be noted that the timing of that was bad and Lokonga was thrown straight into the fire in the midst of a crucial run in for T4 spots. Could he get the chance again there, with Arsenal in a much better state now? Let’s see.
Saying all that, Luiz would most likely be coming in to fill the gap there. Even if Lokonga makes a breakthrough in the position, what happens if he gets injured?
There are certainly appeals towards Douglas Luiz signing for Arsenal:
- 4 years of PL experience
- Won’t ask for a starting role
- relatively cheap considering the circumstances (~20 million pounds)
Luiz is a good passer and that’s certainly his best quality. The weight of his passes is largely fine and he can keep the ball ticking, his ball striking is also quite decent. From the little I’ve watched, the things that stuck out to me are that he doesn’t mind getting dirty and going to ground often in duels (take that as you will). He’s a combative character, although he prefers moving the game forward as he can be overrun in midfield when not paired up with correct types of players.
He fell out at Villa with Kamara’s arrival but he did have great spells for them overall.
The way I see it, Arsenal are in a good place and need that +1 in midfield in order to not go into dangerous territory of switching too much of starting eleven’s positions. That in itself could largely mess with the team’s current dynamics.
Elneny did get a one year deal for this season but Arsenal might be looking to upgrade on him with Luiz’s possible arrival, that could be the role he takes up for Arsenal.
As long as the price isn’t too steep and he knows his role, this is OK business in my honest opinion. If they do end up getting him and no winger on the final day, It will leave a sour taste going into the season tho. Tick-tock.