Tuesday, July 25, 2023

ALMOST DONE: Arsenal Set to Sign Gundogan Alternative

Arsenal could finally be set to avenge one of their few transfer missteps of the summer, by signing an alternative who could actually turn into an upgrade…

Is Douglas Luiz leaving Aston Villa?

Despite the report only surfacing last week, the well-known longstanding interest held by the Gunners in Douglas Luiz cements this rumour as something certainly capable of occurring this summer.

Having seen three bids rejected for Aston Villa’s midfield maestro last summer, the Brazilian then became a mainstay for Unai Emery as he led his side to an unprecedented European finish. The 25-year-old was in the midst of everything good the Midlands outfit produced, as a creative heartbeat dictating the play.

Now, should he switch Villa Park for the Emirates, he could end up emulating the role set out for Ilkay Gundogan, starring beside Martin Odegaard.

After all, Edu had fought hard to bring the German to north London, before being beaten out by Barcelona to his signature. Enjoying an outstanding offensive campaign, perhaps Luiz could provide the younger alternative to make this a move where failure actually ended up benefitting them.

How good is Douglas Luiz?

As Manchester City cruised to a historic treble, winning the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, Pep Guardiola lauded Gundogan for his importance to the side: “The player is exceptional. This season what he has done is just exceptional.”

Mustering 11 goals and a further seven assists across all competitions, this term marked the perfect time for the 32-year-old to bow out from the Etihad as a true cult hero.

He had earned praise for his work operating between the lines of the opposition’s midfield and defence, picking up dangerous pockets of space and linking together attacks. However, few would have envisioned him to be so prolific too, with his 15% goal conversion rate in the league a delight for his Spanish boss. For comparison, this was higher than Kevin De Bruyne’s.

However, his age marks a huge detriment that would likely have Edu and Mikel Arteta pleased they had not handed him a lucrative lengthy deal to sign him, especially if they are to instead tempt Luiz.

He too operates in similar areas to the former Borussia Dortmund star, but unsurprisingly for a far weaker team. Despite that, in the Premier League, he maintained a 7.10 average rating, boosted by his 12 goal contributions, 86% pass accuracy, 1.2 key passes and two tackles per game, via Sofascore.

For comparison, in the league, Gundogan would manage the same number of goal contributions, with his 1.3 key passes and one tackle per game, via Sofascore, hardly outlining a gulf.

The 25-year-old enforcer is powerful, prolific, creative and classy all at the same time, with Tite effusive in his praise: “What does Douglas bring?,” the Brazilian national boss told Jovem Pan.

“(He) brings more creativity to the left side with Neymar, who is not only open, but comes inside. He is the bow and arrow. He is the player of the assistance, the pass, the penultimate pass. Then you have a player behind that triangle to feed you, in addition to the support.”

Valued at just €39.8m (£34m) by Football Transfers, despite signing a new contract back in October 2022, his move to north London remains a huge possibility. Given he is seven years Gundogan’s junior, and yet has managed to match one of his finest seasons, all signs suggest this will be a fine coup for Edu.

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