Football Features

Arsenal Transfer Target: Why Gunners are monitoring midfield maestro Luiz

By Will Evans

Published: 13:55, 10 June 2024 | Updated: 13:26, 12 June 2024

The race for Douglas Luiz’s signature is hotting up — and Arsenal could be set to move for Aston Villa’s midfield star.

Mikel Arteta’s outfit have a long-standing interest in the Brazilian, having attempted to buy him for £25million back in 2022.

But they will face stiff competition to secure his signature this summer, with Serie A giants AC Milan and Juventus reportedly circling the 26-year-old.

As the battle for Luiz intensifies, we assess why he is on the Gunners’ radar.

Midfield mainstay

Thomas Partey is a formidable midfield presence when fit, but Arsenal’s No5 missed 26 matches with injury last season.

A more reliable partner for Declan Rice is therefore required this summer — and players don’t come much more durable than Luiz.

He racked up an impressive 3001 minutes of Premier League action in 2023/24, as well as featuring in 18 cup matches for the Villans.

Last season wasn’t an anomaly, either, with the Rio de Janeiro native playing a minimum of 33 league games in all five of his campaigns at Villa Park.

Luiz’s availability will undoubtedly appeal to Arteta, as Arsenal prepare to challenge for continental and domestic glory.

All-round impact

Luiz’s all-round attributes could significantly boost Arsenal’s midfield, both in and out of possession.

He is a creative presence on the ball, registering five league assists — and a further five in cup competitions — while ranking inside the division’s top 30 players for chances created (53) and big chances created (10).

The 14-cap international also performs similarly well when it comes to completed through-balls (8), crosses (31) and passes into the final third (417).

But he is a capable ball-winner, too, regaining possession a total of 184 times across multiple areas of the pitch.

Though not a player who tops the charts for any specific metric, Luiz’s ability to contribute effectively to attack and defence makes him a valuable presence in the centre of the park.

Set-piece threat

Signing Luiz would boost Arsenal’s set-piece armoury ahead of next season.

He assisted three league goals directly from free-kicks last term, which was only bettered by six players. That is in addition to a further two free-kick assists in the Europa Conference League.

Four of his nine top-flight goals also came from the penalty spot — though Arteta is unlikely to take Bukayo Saka off spot-kick duties, after he converted all six of his attempts in 2023/24.

With Aston Villa believed to be at risk of breaching the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules (PSR), Luiz is rumoured to be available for a fee of around £50m.

That would be a solid investment by the Gunners, if they can move ahead of Milan and Juventus in the race for the Villans’ midfield maestro.