The future of Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz’s future remains a hot topic in the summer transfer window.
The Brazil international has started 32 of Villa’s 38 Premier League games last season having been a roaring success in his debut campaign to help Villa to safety following a £15million transfer from Manchester City in August 2019.
The speculation surrounding Douglas’ future initially centred around the buy-back clause City inserted into the deal that took him to Villa Park almost three years ago – but now there is interest from elsewhere.
Here’s a look at the situation:
Roma register interest
Italian giants AS Roma have set their sights on a summer swoop for Douglas, BirminghamLive understands.
Last season’s Europa League semi-finalists are currently involved in a long-running transfer dispute surrounding Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, with Roma still unable to agree a fee for the Swiss star.
The Serie A side remain desperate for a central midfielder and, despite agreeing personal terms with Xhaka – who has made it clear he wants to leave the Emirates – a transfer has continued to hit a snag over Arsenal’s asking price.
Roma remain hopeful of convincing Arsenal to lower their demands for the Switzerland international but sources close to the club indicate that Douglas is seen as a second option if the the Gunners do not budge.
It was reported in the Italian press last week that Roma had ‘contacted’ Villa about Douglas’ availability with negotiations for Xhaka dragging on.
The report claimed Roma would be willing to pay up to £26million for the Villa player.
How much is he worth?
Douglas cost Villa £15m two years ago and his value has only increased since then given his performances in the Premier League.
It is understood that the South American is now valued at more than double that amount.
Villa are looking to tie Douglas down on a new, long-term contract, knowing his current deal expires in June 2023.
Villa eye midfield signing
Dean Smith has plenty of midfield options in the form of Douglas, Marvelous Nakamba, John McGinn, Morgan Sanson, Jacob Ramsey and Carney Chukwuemeka, but Villa could add fresh quality in the engine room.
Metz midfielder Pape Matar Sarr has also been touted as a target for Villa.
Buy-back clause clarified
Douglas signed for City in 2017 but was unable to play for the club having been denied a work permit by the Home Office.
He spent two seasons on loan at Spanish club Girona before he was sold to Villa after Smith’s side were promoted to the Premier League.
Signing a four-year deal, City director of football Txiki Begiristain insisted that a buy-back clause was included in the player’s contract that would allow the club to take him back to Manchester for a set fee.
The fee, should City have acted, was set at £27.5 million – although the recently-crowned champions have no obligation to trigger the clause.
However, the clause expired on June 5 this year meaning City no longer have the option to trigger a set fee.
Most of the speculation linking Douglas with a return to his former club came about because of the uncertainty over Fernandinho’s future with Pep Guardiola’s side. But the 36-year-old looks set to sign a new one-year contract.
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Douglas issues response
In an interview with EPSN Brasil in December, Douglas said he was aware of the clause but remained fully focused on doing his best for Villa.
“In fact, I am aware of the repurchase,” the 23-year-old said (via Sport Witness). “I try to do my job on the pitch, that’s the truth.
“The things people stay on the outside, I try not to focus on that, because it can hinder me on the pitch. These things I have to leave to my family, to my agents. And they are off the field to play that role. I play my part on the pitch.”
He also opened up on his departure from the Etihad and said Guardiola was desperate to keep him.
“As soon as I left Vasco, I already knew about the Manchester City project,” added Douglas. “That’s why I ended up accepting it. I knew that in the first year, I’d go on loan to Spain to play for Girona.
“At Girona I didn’t have such a good year, so to speak. I had just left Brazilian football, I went to the Spanish league, I ended up not adapting so well, the first year I didn’t play.
“In the following year, I did the pre-season with City and it was very good, I ended up impressing Pep Guardiola, and he did everything he could for me to stay, but there was a visa problem.
“I won’t be blaming one or the other. When it’s to happen, it happens, if it didn’t happen, it’s because it wasn’t the right time.”
What Guardiola has said
BirminghamLivequizzed Guardiola over the now expired buy-back option after City’s victory at Villa Park in April.
“He’s an important player for Aston Villa,” Guardiola explained. “A guy who’s clever with the ball, so physically strong. He’s a lovely, lovely guy.
“Unfortunately when he came (to City) a work permit meant he could not play but I’m happy he’s developed really, really well.
“But there are a lot of people in the club working about this type of players and, at the end of the season, we will take a decision.”
Smith addresses situation
The Villa boss told reporters at a press conference earlier in the season that he wasn’t overly concerned about the City rumours.
“He’s done really well for Brazil,” Smith said in November. “There’s been talk about a buy-back option. I’m not aware of it, I don’t deal with contracts. I deal with the players.
“What I know is Douglas Luiz is loving his time at Aston Villa and getting better and better. He’s performing very well for Brazil as well. Long may that continue.
“Next summer’s a long way off for me, we’ve got 31 games in the Premier League left still so I’m concentrating on that.”
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