Fabrizio Romano insists Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz remains Arsenal’s “dream target” in midfield despite suggestions Mikel Arteta could bring former Wolves captain Ruben Neves back to the Premier League.
That’s not to say that reports suggesting Arsenal could move Ruben Neves aren’t true, just a few months after the Portuguese playmaker joined Al-Hilal for £47m.
But if the Gunners had the choice, they would choose Douglas Luiz over his former Midlands neighbor any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Talking about his Caught offsideFabrizio Romano believes the ever-improving Aston Villa enforcer remains high on Arsenal’s midfield wishlist, with speculation surrounding Neves’ future perhaps a classic case of putting two and two together and coming up with five .
Arsenal prefer Douglas Luiz over Ruben Neves
“Ruben Neves continues to be linked to Arsenal and I think these stories stem from the fact that Mikel Arteta has always been a big fan of the player,” explains Romano. “He has always appreciated him since he was at Wolves.
“And his name came up a few times in recent years when Arteta discussed goals with Arsenal director Edu. I think that’s why these links exist.
“But there are no negotiations at the moment. And in fact, Douglas Luiz is Arsenal’s dream target in midfield.”
Arsenal failed with no less than three separate bids for the former Manchester City youngster in 2022 and Luiz has since taken his game to a whole new level under Unai Emery. Dean Jones from GiveMeSport believes an ambitious, deep-pocketed Aston Villa team is likely to last around £70m these days, around £45m more when Arsenal were willing to pay around 16 months earlier.
Aston Villa ace is Arteta’s ‘dream target’
“It’s a complicated deal,” Romano adds. “Because Aston Villa is having a fantastic season and they don’t want to sell an important player like Luiz in January. I think it would take a lot of money to get Villa to change their mind about Luiz.
“He is Arsenal’s dream target. They see him as a perfect midfielder with a great future. But unless they are able to come in with a very large package of money, it will be very difficult for them to complete this deal.
“Neves could therefore perhaps be a replacement option if Arsenal are unable to sign Luiz.”
Arsenal’s continued interest raises further questions about Thomas Partey’s future. Juventus are reportedly interested in the injury-prone former Atlético Madrid player.
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