Arsenal’s title hopes could go sky high by sealing £60m raid from Premier League rivals

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The Gunners have been linked with a move for a new midfielder who could prove an ideal addition to Mikel Arteta’s side.

You know what they say, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, hold onto that failure for almost 18 months before doubling down and having another crack at the exact same thing that thwarted you last time’. Or words to that effect.

During the waning hours of last year’s summer transfer window, Arsenal cultivated something of an obsession. Wholly fixated on shunting a deal for Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz into the endzone, they tabled three separate bids for the Brazilian, with the highest coming in at around £25 million. Given that the player is still very much employed at Villa Park, you might be able to deduce that all three offers were soundly rejected.

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But according to 90min, the Gunners are now fully reloaded, and could look to make another move for the South American in the coming months. You see, Mikel Arteta is on the hunt for midfield reinforcements amid mounting speculation over the long-term futures of both Thomas Partey and Jorginho, and has thus identified a number of potential targets, with Luiz also joined by the likes of Fluminense starlet Andre, Feyenoord ace Quinten Timber (brother of current Emirates talent Jurrien), Valencia’s Javi Guerra, and Royal Antwerp prospect Arthur Vermeeren on his transfer wishlist.

Of that quintet, however, Luiz certainly feels like the most readymade first team acquisition. So far this season, the 25-year-old has been in imperious form for Villa, scoring five times in nine top flight matches, including a brace against West Ham on Sunday afternoon as Unai Emery’s side moved to within two points of the summit of the Premier League table. And his impact hasn’t been limited to his contributions in front of goal either.

According to stats aggregator Whoscored, only Ollie Watkins has registered a higher average match rating for the Villans this term, and the Brazilian’s accumulated figure of 7.20 would place him third overall in Arsenal’s squad, eclipsed only by Bukayo Saka and Declan Rice. He also ranks in Villa’s top three for both shots taken and successful tackles made per ninety minutes, and the general impression he gives is one of an all-action midfield presence capable of positively impacting matches in both the attacking and defensive thirds.

It is easy to see, therefore, why Arsenal are so enamoured with him. Already fortunate enough to boast the aforementioned Rice and Martin Odegaard in the centre of the park, a player of Luiz’s ilk - busy, steadfast, and creative - could provide the perfect foil to the talents they already possess. Compared to, say, Partey, who has only managed to score five goals in over a century of matches for the Gunners, Luiz has the potential to be a real asset on the front foot, and his defensive showings in recent times have been, statistically-speaking, so far beyond Jorginho’s that a direct comparison almost feels cruel.

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Of course, there are factors that could complicate matters - for one thing, the South American has penned a fresh deal at Villa Park that runs until 2026 since Arsenal’s last swell of interest, and it is difficult to see Emery willingly acquiescing to the departure of such a key player partway through a campaign - but make no mistake, if the Gunners could somehow engineer an agreement for Luiz, reportedly valued at around £60 million as of August, then it would be a serious, serious coup.

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