Aston Villa could face an anxious summer transfer window after Pep Guardiola’s comments about Douglas Luiz.
The Brazil international joined Dean Smith’s side from Manchester City, but reports have indicated that the Premier League leaders are considering whether to exercise their buyback clause in the summer.
Speaking in his post-match press conference after his side’s 2-1 win over Villa on Wednesday, the City manager said of Luiz: “He’s a guy who’s played a lot of minutes, he’s an important player for Aston Villa. A guy who’s clever with the ball, he’s so physical and strong. He’s a lovely guy, unfortunately when he came, due to the work permit, he could not play.
“I’m happy he’s developing really, really well. Today, when he was involved in the game defensively, he was good. I have many things in my head ahead of the next five or six weeks. There are a lot of people at the club working about these types of players and then, at the end of the season, we will make a decision.”
Since joining from Manchester City, Luiz has firmly established as a key part of Smith’s starting line-up, starting 27 times in the Premier League this season.
Speaking earlier in the summer, The Athletic journalist Gregg Evans said of him: “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.”
The £50,000-a-week midfielder is an important cog in the Villa engine room, usually alongside John McGinn but now as a midfield three with Marvelous Nakamba playing the holding role.
Given how Smith has played him week in, week out, losing him this summer would be a major blow regardless. However, the fact that City have a buy-back clause that they can exercise and completely brush aside Villa from the whole transfer process makes the situation surrounding Luiz a major headache for the Midlands club.
The Manchester club can just come in at any moment to swoop, and it’s a prospect for which Villa simply must be prepared. There’s no questioning that Smith will be worried about that possibility.