Arsenal were ‘never close’ to landing deadline day move for Aston Villa star

The midfielder could still leave the club over the coming months.
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Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz was a reported target of Premier League rivals Arsenal on transfer deadline day.

However, the Brazilian international was ‘never close’ to making a move to the Emirates Stadium, according to reports.

Speculation over Luiz’s future has continued to dominate the headlines as the former Manchester City midfielder moves into the final year of his existing contract at Villa Park.

There were strong suggestions Arsenal submitted two offers between £20million and £25million for the 24-year-old but both bids were rejected out of hand.

Speaking after the transfer window was closed, Villa manager Steven Gerrard 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. 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.”

Luiz was not the only Gunners midfield target as they also considered a move for Leicester City star Youri Tielemans.

However, journalist Fabrizio Romano told Caught Offside a deal for either player never really came close.

He said: “There was so much speculation about Arsenal making a major investment in midfield, but it never happened. The truth is, until the late offers for Douglas Luiz, a deal was never really close.

“Youri Tielemans was always an option but Arsenal didn’t want to spend £35m on a player who would be out of contract in a few months, that’s why it was never close. Arsenal only sign players when they’re 100% convinced, but, in my opinion, Tielemans was the perfect player for Arteta.

“Arsenal tried three times to sign Douglas Luiz on deadline day, but he was untouchable for Aston Villa and remained so until the last minute.

“They finally said no to an offer worth £25m plus add-ons – they wanted to keep the player, but he will be out of contract next summer and the feeling is that top clubs could come in for him again in January, or when he’s a free agent.”