Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has offered fresh insight on the situation regarding Douglas Luiz’s contract and future at the club.
The 24-year-old will see his current deal expire at the end of this season, while he was strongly linked with an exit this past summer with Villa rejecting three bids from Arsenal including a final offer said to be worth £25m, as per the Guardian.
On one hand, if Luiz isn’t keen on putting pen to paper on new terms, Villa would have been wise to cash in while we had the chance to avoid the threat of losing him for nothing next summer.
However, the club evidently took the decision that the Brazilian international was too important to lose for now, and so the hope is likely to be that having kept hold of him for now, further talks at some stage could lead to a breakthrough in convincing him to commit his long-term future.
Gerrard was asked about Luiz in his pre-match press conference on Friday ahead of our encounter with Leeds Utd this weekend, and while he revealed that no progress had been made in contract talks yet, he was keen to praise Luiz for the attitude and professionalism that he has continued to display while reiterating Villa’s stance on the matter.
“No news in terms of extending his stay here, so that hasn’t changed. But what I would say is that he’s very focused, he’s trained well,” the Villa boss told the media on Friday, as per VillaTV. “Am I surprised by the speculation? No, because we’ve got a young Brazilian player who’s a fantastic talent so I expect to be asked this question a lot as the season progresses.
“We want him to stay here, the owners were very strong in keeping him here, we didn’t obviously want to lose him on the final day and he has performed very well since and he has trained very well and he is ready to go at the weekend.”
With Boubacar Kamara now sidelined by a knee injury until after the World Cup, Luiz will become an even more important figure in midfield for us, as the expectation is that he’ll likely fill in for the Frenchman in the No.6 role.
That said, particularly when deployed in a more advanced role, his technical quality and passing ability continue to be crucial attributes and strengths that he brings to our midfield with others lacking those particular skills, and so unless we have a replacement already in mind to fill the void, it would be a blow to lose him.
In turn, the decision to fend off bids from Arsenal and keep Luiz over the summer has proven to be a smart decision in the short term, but time will tell if he’s still with us at the start of next season or if the two parties are unable to reach an agreement on a new contract and thus Luiz eventually moves elsewhere on a free transfer.