Douglas Luiz replaces Aston Villa as Man City consider summer move
The long-term future of Douglas Luiz is currently out of Aston Villa’s hands.
The Brazilian, who recently turned 23, can return to Manchester City this summer if Pep Guardiola asks his bosses to exercise their £ 27.5million buyout clause.
Villa are keen to tie Douglas to a new contract but have to wait for confirmation that City are not looking to re-sign the midfielder.
Speaking about Douglas after City’s recent 2-1 win at Villa Park, Guardiola said: “He’s a guy who has played a lot of minutes, he’s an important player for Aston Villa.
“A guy who’s smart with the ball, he’s so physical and strong. He’s a lovely guy, unfortunately when he came, because of the work permit he couldn’t play.”
“I’m happy he’s developing really, really well. Today, when he was involved in the game defensively, he was good.
“I don’t want to be distracted. There are a lot of people at the club working on these types of players and then at the end of the season we will make a decision.”
Villa will need to prepare for the worst-case scenario, so potential replacements for Douglas should be considered.
Finding a suitable alternative for a player who has started 32 of the club’s 38 Premier League games and who is such an integral part of Dean Smith’s style of play is easier said than done.
There are players who statistically match Douglas according to the WyScout scouting platform, three of whom are currently plying their trade in the Premier League.
Malian midpoint of Brighton Yves bissouma is a hot property and probably out of Villa’s reach at the moment, but it would be a suitable alternative to Douglas.
Douglas’s job in Villa midfield is mainly to reclaim possession and feed the ball into the team’s attacking talents. His passing success rate is up 86.8% this season, and he’s averaging five interceptions and 8.8 ball recoveries per game.
Bissouma, meanwhile, has 89.1% passing success, 4.55 interceptions and nine ball recoveries per game.
The Brighton man has been linked with summer moves to Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal and, according to a report in Time, has already requested a transfer from AMEX.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry winks is another actor that would do the trick. The 25-year-old hasn’t played regularly this season but, with 88.4% of passes completed, 4.9 interceptions and 7.72 ball recoveries, does a similar job to Douglas.
The winks looked set to leave Spurs in January with Valencia’s interest reported in the Spanish press and his future will come under the microscope this summer.
Ok Yokuslu couldn’t help West Bromwich Albion beat relegation but he could end up staying in the Premier League. The man on loan from Celta Vigo could be the subject of a summer bidding war after being impressed by the failure of Albion’s attempt to survive.
Despite playing for a struggling team, Okay, 27, has an almost identical success rate to Douglas at 86% but averages 5.54 steals and 12.56 digs per game.
Now for two left field suggestions in Ibrahim Sangare and Joao Palhinha.
Sangare, 23, had an exceptional season with PSV Eindhoven after leaving Toulouse for club Eredivisie. He succeeded 71.6% of all actions in which he was involved.
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The Ivorian is proficient on the ball with 87.7% passing accuracy and averaged 6.95 steals and 13.29 recoveries per game.
Palhinha has been a big part of Sporting’s wonderful season in Portugal. The Lisbon club won their first Primeira Liga title since 2002 and Palhinha was a key part of Ruben Amorim’s starting XI.
He was reportedly available for around € 15million last year, but his performance this campaign means Sporting can now charge much higher fees.