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Aston Villa could sign Luiz upgrade in Mikel Merino

Aston Villa have made their interest in Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino public…

What’s the latest?

As per the Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo (via Sport Witness), Unai Emery would “love to take” the Spaniard to Villa Park in January.

Boasting a €60m (£55m) release clause, he still has two years left on his £65k-per-week deal and could be tempted to join up with his compatriot.

The financial power of the Midlands outfit is reported as “indisputable”, however, it will be a tough deal to make following the World Cup’s commencement.

Big Luiz upgrade

With Douglas Luiz also linked with a move to La Liga, it could mark a wonderful switch around for the new boss.

Barcelona have been sniffing around the Brazilian who boasts 127 games for Villa and has been a mainstay in their midfield since his move from Manchester City.

Despite his recent contract extension, Emery could look to push him out the door in favour of Merino, who has starred in La Liga.

The 26-year-old offers everything a manager would want from a midfielder, with an eye for goal and creativity merged with defensive steel.

This season alone has seen him notch eight goal contributions alongside his 2.4 tackles and 2.3 clearances.

It marks yet another campaign where he is averaging an impressive SofaScore rating, with his 7.24 outlining his current best-ever season for the Spanish outfit.

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Although Luiz is an impressive force in the engine room, he pales in comparison to Merino.

The 24-year-old offers little defensively, with his main contribution being his consistency with the ball at his feet.  

His 85% pass accuracy is a vast improvement on the 77% of the former Newcastle United man, but that is about as far as it goes for Luiz’s upsides.

When discussing his own talents, Merino suggested that “I like to think I’m one of the best”, after his manager had conclusively dubbed him “the best player in the league.”

To swap the solid Luiz with this sensational counterpart would mark a massive upgrade that could complete Villa’s midfield alongside John McGinn.