Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has explained the club’s decision to deny Douglas Luiz a deadline day switch to Arsenal. The 25-year-old midfielder was heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium in the final hours of the summer transfer window.
football.london understand that the Gunners are long admirers of Luiz. And, it’s said that once the club became aware Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey would be absent for some time due to injury, the north Londoners ignited a plot to sign the Brazil international despite having just a few hours to work with.
Arsenal tabled three bids for Luiz, with the highest thought to be in the region of £25million. But, Villa stood strong and snubbed the Gunners’ advances despite the Brazilian having just one-year left on his current deal and, therefore, entitled to leave for free next summer.
So, with an element of confusion as to why Villa didn’t cash-in, Gerrard was quizzed on the club’s decision in the pre-match press conference which previewed their clash with Manchester City at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon. The former Liverpool midfielder said: “I’ve got confidence that he’ll understand the situation and the club’s decision.
“We didn’t want to lose a very important player and a top player so late in the window,” Gerrard added. “From a personal point of view I very much back the club’s stance on that.
“I spoke to him face-to-face yesterday and he understood where we were at and the position the club was in. He very much respects the decision so hopefully it will calm down in the hours and days to follow and he’ll be fine moving forward.”
Had Luiz penned a deal at Arsenal, he would have been the Gunners’ sixth signing of the summer – and third Brazilian. With the Villa star fitting the profile of player Arteta wants, he’d likely have seamlessly slotted into the north Londoners’ starting XI.
The Arsenal boss had his say on the matter too. Speaking to football.london, Arteta said: “We had a lot of things still to do in the squad. The club has done a phenomenal job to bring in players that we wanted.
“Unfortunately in the last 72 hours Thomas and Mo got injured and we had to react in the market. We tried and at the end of the day we have to bring in the players we feel are right but we didn’t manage to do it.”