Italian giants AS Roma have set their sights on a summer swoop for Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz, BirminghamLive can reveal.
Last season’s Europa League semi-finalists are currently involved in a long-running transfer dispute surrounding Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, with Roma and the Gunners 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, a transfer has continued to hit a snag over Arsenal’s asking price.
football.london has explained how Roma want to shake hands on a knock-down fee for Xhaka. However, the Gunners are holding out for around £17 million for the 28-year-old, who signed for Arsenal for as much as £40.5 million back in 2016.
It’s been reported how Roma have had a bid rejected in the region of £12.9 million for the Swiss captain, who has already agreed a five-year deal at the Stadio Olimpico. Xhaka’s Arsenal contract, meanwhile, has another two years left to run.
Roma, though, are said to be ‘playing games’ given the leak surrounding their interest in Douglas, with the Italians remaining hopeful of hammering down Arsenal’s asking price for Xhaka. A club insider at Roma has declared Douglas as their second option.
Villa head coach Dean Smith rates the ex-Manchester City midfielder highly after his £15 million transfer back in the summer of 2019.
Just 10 days ago, City’s £27.5 million buy-back option on their former star expired, and Villa are now said to be looking to tie the South American down on a new, long-term contract, knowing his current deal expires in June 2023. BirminghamLive understands that Douglas is valued at £30 million-plus.
Jack Grealish, John McGinn, Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa and Matt Targett have all signed new long-term contracts in recent months, with Smith keen to build around his core of top performers.
“We want progression again,” Smith said a fortnight ago. “That is why we have a younger squad because we know these players will get better, getting them on longer term contracts is really important.
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“It is alright bringing in young players and building their value. But I’m hopeful players will come to Aston Villa, like Ezri Konsa, and spend six, seven or eight years here. If they are doing that it means the club is progressing. That is an important part of the plan moving forward.”
Villa, meanwhile, remain in the market for a midfielder with Metz’s Pape Matar Sarr and Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse both on Villa’s radar.
Smith has Morgan Sanson, Marvelous Nakamba, McGinn, Jacob Ramsey, Conor Hourihane and Douglas as his midfield options at present.