Arsenal tipped to offer Aston Villa a swap deal as they aim to sign of the club’s prize assets in January
Arsenal are in the market to sign a midfielder in January, according to reports.
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Arsenal have turned their attention back to a long-term transfer target in Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz, according to reports from Fabrizio Romano.
The Gunners are hoping to sign a defensive minded midfielder to fill the void left by Thomas Partey, who has been a long-term absentee for most of the season with injury.
The 30-year-old midfielder is not expected to make a return until at least January before immediately linking up with his Ghana team for the African Cup of Nations. While Sky Sports news has also suggested that a potential move to Juventus could be on the cards for Partey in January.
If this is the case then it is likely that Arsenal will return to the market to sign a long-term replacement for Partey to boost their hopes of lifting the Premier League title. Romano reports that Luiz is at the top of Arteta’s list after a failed summer move in 2022 but adds that Aston Villa are reluctant to sell the player due to their ambitions of achieving success under Unai Emery.
Luiz is a key player for Aston Villa and has added more goals to his game in recent months. However, Arsenal may look to soften the blow of his departure by offering Aston Villa a trade which would involve one of their squad players in three-time England international Emile Smith-Rowe.
Smith-Rowe has been on the books at Arsenal since 2010 and graduated from the academy eight years later. He famously burst onto the scene during the 2021/22 campaign after successful spells at RB Leipzig and Huddersfield Town.
The 23-year-old midfielder scored 10 goals in 33 games during his breakout years for the Gunners - winning the attention of the England national team, whilst also being described as a ‘future Arsenal captain’ during the docu-series All Or Nothing.
However, Smith Rowe’s progress has faltered in recent years and he has struggled for minutes in the first team with just 16 appearances in the league over the last 16 months.
Smith-Rowe starred for England during their road to U21 glory in the summer and is hopeful of breaking back into the first team once again. This could prompt him to move elsewhere and a club of Villa’s stature could be the perfect place for him to kick start his career.
Reports from football.london claim Smith-Rowe could be used as part of the Luiz deal to make the price more affordable for the Gunners.
While ex-Villa man Gabriel Agbonlahor also had his say on TalkSport and claimed Luiz is now likely to be valued at around £60m, which is significantly higher than the £25m bid put forward by Arsenal two summers ago.
He said: “Let’s be honest, Douglas Luiz wanted to leave Aston Villa because Arsenal bid and the club didn't accept it. Douglas Luiz was in a great position as his contract was up in the summer.
"Sometimes contracts can hide what is really going on. In the summer, Luiz might go but instead of £20million it might be £50million or £60million.
"The position he's in, he's laughing because he's got his wages up high. I think it suits both the club and the player, to be honest."