After signing him from Manchester City for a reported £15m in the summer of 2019, Dean Smith made it clear just how much of a coup it was that Aston Villa had managed to get Douglas Luiz.
He said: “Douglas is an extremely talented young player with an outstanding pedigree who I am sure will fit nicely into our style and system of play.”
Fast forward more than a year later, and his rise has been meteoric to say the least. The fact that the 22-year-old hadn’t played a single game for City, and had spent the previous two campaigns on loan at Spanish side Girona, underlined that this wasn’t a player who was absolutely headed for stardom.
But under Smith’s guidance at Villa Park, he has developed into an impressive central midfielder, so much so that the club announced that Brazil had called him up again for their senior side for the upcoming internationals. It will see him more than likely add to the first two caps he has already earned.
Described as “unbelievable” by his club boss, journalist Gregg Evans hailed him earlier in the summer after a particularly impressive performance against Manchester United.
He said: “He’s an absolute joy to watch now and I never thought I would be saying that. Villa have got a fantastic player in Douglas Luiz now, he looks like an absolute star, he could have played in that Man United team.
“He was better than (Paul) Pogba, I thought. I thought he was brilliant, hardly did anything wrong, hardly put a foot wrong. He won so many interceptions and made so many important blocks. When he gets the ball, he passes it nicely. He’s the best player in that Villa team at the moment because it’s just not working for John McGinn.”
With yet more international caps for a footballing giant like Brazil to come, it just goes to show that former sporting director, Suso, got an absolute steal in signing Luiz for just £15m last year.