Arsenal

Edu can repeat Declan Rice transfer with Arsenal deal for proven Casemiro replacement

Paul Merson believes Douglas Luiz has been on par with Declan Rice and Rodri in the Premier League season as he the Brazil international continues to be linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium

Paul Merson believes Douglas Luiz can rival Declan Rice and Rodri at being the best in the Premier League – as Arsenal continue to be linked with a move for the Aston Villa midfielder.

The Gunners’ interest in the 25-year-old Brazil international is nothing new, with the North Londoners seeing three bids rejected by Aston Villa for Luiz back in September 2022.

But since Unai Emery has taken charge at Villa Park in the months after Arsenal’s failed pursuit of the midfielder, Luiz has gone from strength to strength and even helped the Midlanders sustain an unlikely Premier League title challenge this campaign.

Though despite spending over £100m in a deal to sign Declan Rice from West Ham United last summer, Arsenal continue to be linked with a move for the Aston Villa midfielder, who Merson believes is more than good enough to replace Fabinho and Casemiro on the international stage for Brazil.

I’ve been on about the Aston Villa man for god knows how long, so people know I’ve always been a huge fan of him,’ wrote Merson in his latest Sportskeeda column. “When Arsenal wanted to sign him a year ago, but people didn’t really rate him too highly but now, everyone can see what he’s all about as he’s been absolutely ripping it up for Aston Villa this season.

“He can sit as a holding midfielder and mop things up for his team but he also gets in the box and scores goals – as we’ve seen so often this season. He’s quite well-rounded and still very underrated, but in the 2023-24 campaign, he has started getting his fair share of recognition.”

Merson, who won two First Division titles during his 12 years at Arsenal, added: “People wouldn’t put him in the same breath as Declan Rice or Rodri, but based on their performances this season, I’d certainly put Luiz up there with the pair
“With Casemiro and Fabinho past their best in recent seasons, the ex-Manchester City midfielder could also become a key player for Brazil in the years ahead

Speaking about Luiz’s future at Villa Park in November, Emery hailed the commitment of the versatile midfielder and insisted he was happy with the Midlands outfit dispute such intense speculation.

“Douglas is playing very good,” said Emery. “His commitment [is] amazing. I want to keep him and he is happy with us.”

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