Aston Villa poised to deal Arsenal major transfer blow as Man City ready fresh bid for £86m midfielder

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The latest Premier League transfer rumours, including updates from Aston Villa, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and West Ham.

Welcome to Friday’s dose of Premier League transfer rumours – we’ve combed through the media to bring your our verdict on some of the biggest and boldest reports doing the rounds, and we’ll kick off at Villa Park, where there is some reassuring news for supporters of Unai Emery’s high-flying side.

Recent reports that Aston Villa had posted a £120m loss over the course of last season had fuelled speculation that they would be forced to sell star players in order to comply with current profit and sustainability rules, but 90min claim that Villa are “adamant” that they are not under financial pressure – and as such have no plans to sell midfielder Douglas Luiz despite interest from Arsenal.

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Apparently the club “are not interested in parting ways” with Luiz and there is “optimism” that the Brazilian will continue his career in the midlands – although the article does note that the Gunners “do remain keen” on his signings. Other options are being explored, however, and the odds that Luiz goes to the Emirates look slimmer than they did when the financial figures first emerged.

The 3AM Verdict: It’s worth noting that if Villa were in a position where they will be forced to sell players this summer, then they probably wouldn’t make it public knowledge – if they seem desperate, then it would weaken their negotiating position. But if they’re being honest then this is clearly great news for the club, as Luiz is the engine room of their top-four side and replacing him would be a huge challenge. Arsenal, meanwhile, will have the resources to sign him, but do have other options such as Real Sociedad’s Martín Zubimendi.

City ready to return for West Ham star

One of the big transfer stories that never happened last summer was Manchester City’s pursuit of West Ham United midfielder Lucas Paquetá – a deal which was scuppered after Paquetá was accused of breaching gambling rules. The investigation into those allegations continues, but it sounds like City are preparing another bid regardless.

The Daily Mail claim that City are considering triggering an £86m release clause which will be triggered this summer, and that City are “willing to wait” on the midfielder who they apparently see as a long-term successor to Bernardo Silva. The player himself was previously said to be more than keen to join City, and is also celebrating a recall to the Brazil squad for the March friendlies, including the game against England.

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The 3AM Verdict: The FA have previously hinted that the investigation was nearing its conclusion but there is no fixed date and no decision has yet been made – we can reasonably assume that City won’t spend such a huge amount of cash until they know that there’s no chance of a suspension. It’s still interesting to see that they continue to monitor the midfielder, however.

Manchester stars staying put for now

Typically, we’re bringing you details of players that are moving clubs, but today we’re going to end with two stories about players who aren’t going anywhere at all, both of whom play their football in Manchester.

First up, Caught Offside report claims from Fabrizio Romano that although City right-back Kyle Walker was close to joining Bayern Munich last summer, he isn’t expected to go anywhere this summer as it stands. He also claims that reports linking Walker with a move to Saudi Arabia are wide of the mark, even though the England defender did say that he would “never say never.”

Meanwhile, over on the other side of the River Irwell, we have bad news for any United fans who thought they’d heard the last of Antony. Sport Witness discuss reports from Brazil that he could be heading back to his homeland to play for Flamengo, but point out that the rumours have been firmly put to bed my better-connected reports as his is “far too expensive” for the Série A side. Which makes sense, really.

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The 3AM Verdict: Walker’s resale value is probably fairly low at this point unless it’s to Saudi Arabia, but the simple fact is that he doesn’t seem to be slowing down and remains Pep Guardiola’s undisputed first choice at right-back, so it seems perfectly plausible that he isn’t going anywhere - and City should likely be happy to keep hold of him. United, meanwhile, should be desperate to get rid of the awful Antony, but the stories from Brazil are evidently unlikely. If he moves on, it will be to a club that can afford his wage demands.

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