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Mikel Arteta’s £74m Arsenal success confirmed by late Douglas Luiz move to bury Newcastle worry – Tom Canton


The Arsenal midfield has been the victim of African Cup of Nations participation, suspensions, Covid-19 and naïve transfer decisions this January and two competition exits can be attributed to the thinness of the position.

Arsenal lost Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny to the AFCON and Granit Xhaka tested positive for Covid whilst Ainsley Maitland-Niles was allowed to leave on loan for Roma despite the shortages in the role. Xhaka and Partey were also sent off in each leg respectively of the League Cup semi-final defeat to Liverpool.

Arsenal have come through the month without a win and now do not play until the 10th of February when all of the aforementioned players, bar Maitland-Niles, will have returned.

However, the club has been linked with numerous options in the midfield including Juventus’ Arthur Melo. However, The Athletic reports that Edu presented an agreed 18-month loan proposal with a €40 million buy option which the Arsenal hierarchy were not keen on causing the deal to stall.

The Gunners were also linked to Bruno Guimaraes of Lyon however Newcastle United are the current favourites to land the Brazilian to the frustration of many of the Arsenal fans.

The latest player linked with a move is Aston Villa’s, Douglas Luiz according to the Evening Standard. With 18 months left on his contract at Villa Park, his future remains uncertain.

John Percy of The Telegraph reports that interest from other clubs, including a rejected £30 million bid that did not come from Arsenal, has sparked them to open contract talks with the midfielder in a bid to keep him.

That being said, Villa are in talks with Juventus to sign midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur who would be a suitable replacement.

Should Arsenal offer the player a deal that could prize him away from Birmingham, this would follow a trend begun by Arteta to sign premium Premier League talent at a younger age established in the league.


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Aaron Ramsdale and Ben White arrived for an approximate combined figure of £74 million and have both gone on to become stalwarts in the first team.

Ramsdale ousted Bernd Leno to the number one role within a matter of weeks and White has overtaken Rob Holding easily into the starting right centre-half position. He has also deputised at right-back against Norwich City and Burnley.

Adding Luiz to the group would represent yet another move in the same vein. However, it would be a step up considering Aston Villa’s intentions are to close the gap with Arsenal in the near future.

The Villans beat Arsenal to the signing of Emi Buendia in the summer and also had a number of bids rejected for Emile Smith-Rowe before he renewed his Arsenal contract.

There is a growing rivalry between the sides, especially between the supporters on social media. Stealing away Luiz will be tricky but if Edu can sell the player the Arsenal project it would represent a major win for the north London side and a big blow to Villa’s ambitions.

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