Aston Villa have rejected Arsenal’s first and second bids for Douglas Luiz, per multiple reports. The Gunners offered £20M and £23M, but Villa have stood firm that the player is not for sale. Arsenal are mulling coming back with a third, £25M offer for Luiz, who is said to be trying to push the deal through.
Any player who “isn’t for sale” isn’t for sale until he is. There is certainly a number at which Villa will part ways with Luiz. What that number is and whether Arsenal are willing to match it is an open question. Signing Leander Dendoncker from Wolves for £13M and bringing the total number of CDM-type players on the roster to four does not seem like great business, even if you want to play a double pivot. It feels like they’ve signed their replacement for a guy they’re going to sell.
But what do I know. Maybe Steven Gerrard is cooking up some tactics beyond “kick the crap out of the opponents and lump the ball upfield,” which clearly hasn’t worked thus far this season.
How high should Arsenal go for Luiz? It’s tough to say. Arsenal desperately need reinforcements in the midfield, and he fits the bill. But his numbers at Aston Villa don’t jump off the page. He’s a fine player. He can do what the Gunners need while Thomas Partey isn’t available, and he’s a long-term replacement for Mohamed Elneny as the backup no. 6. He probably looks a better player in a better Arsenal squad than he’s shown at Villa, too.
Douglas Luiz feels so average pic.twitter.com/6JFhdvVR0r— Scott Willis (@oh_that_crab) September 1, 2022
How much is all that worth? £25M? £30M? I don’t think Arsenal should go any higher than that. And if they’re going to spend that much, they might do well to scrape together a bit more and put in another offer for Danilo from Palmeiras, who seems to be one of the long-term Partey replacement targets.
But transfers take time and time is running out. If the club like Douglas Luiz, I’m fine with Arsenal overpaying by a bit, especially if Edu and Mikel Arteta think bringing him in bails them out from a potentially season-derailing injury crisis.