LEAGUE leaders Arsenal failed with a dramatic last-gasp bid to land Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz.
Bids of £20million and £23million were both rejected by the struggling Midlanders before the Gunners decided they were not prepared to go any higher for a player who is in the final of his contract.
Douglas Luiz has been attracting interest from many Premier League sides but Arsenal have pulled out of the runningCredit: Reuters
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was given the green light to make one last signing after confirmation that Mohamed Elneny is likely to be sidelined for the rest of the year by a serious hamstring injury.
And with Thomas Partey currently ruled out by a persistent thigh injury, the Gunners are suddenly short of options in central midfield.
But it was only after Tuesday’s 2-1 win against Villa that the possibility of a deal for Douglas Luiz was first broached between the two clubs.
And there simply wasn’t enough time to reach an agreement for the 24-year-old Brazilian international who worked with Arteta at Manchester City before his £12.5million move to Villa in 2019.
Villa boss Steven Gerrard had appeared to open the door to Luiz’s departure after Tuesday’s game when he said: “Douglas only has a year to go and it’s one of those really touchy situations where we have to do what is best for the club, not necessarily what is best for me.”
But Villa decided that they would rather keep the influential player at the club despite running the risk of losing him as a free agent next summer.
And even though they signed a ready-made replacement in £13million Leander Dendoncker from Wolves last night, they could not be persuaded to accept Arsenal’s top offer.
At least Arsenal were able to get Hector Bellerin off their wage bill after cancelling the Spanish international’s contract without a pay-off.
Now Bellerin is set to sign for Barcelona as a free agent after Arsenal secured an agreement for a potential sell-on fee.
Meanwhile, academy graduate Ainsley Maitland-Nile has secured another loan away from the club.
The Gunners youngster has agreed a temporary deal with Southampton, who will have the option to buy the midfielder next summer.
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