Arsenal are eyeing up a reshuffle of their midfield in January with Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz a leading target and the future of Thomas Partey unclear, sources have told ESPN.
Arsenal had three bids for Luiz rejected in September 2022 — the final offer totalling around £25 million ($31.6m) — and the Brazil international subsequently signed a new contract which ties him to Villa Park until 2026.
Luiz has been a key figure for Unai Emery’s side this season, starting all 13 Premier League games with Villa fourth in the table following Sunday’s 2-1 win at Tottenham.
Arsenal’s interest stays but they would likely have to make a dramatically improved offer to persuade Villa to allow Luiz to leave in the middle of such a promising campaign.
Arsenal have limited funds available after spending more than £200m in the summer — significantly, their deal to sign goalkeeper David Raya from Brentford was structured initially as a £3m loan with an option for a permanent move worth around £27m specifically to aid Arsenal’s compliance with financial rules.
They could raise money for new signings with Partey’s departure.
The midfielder has started just three league games this season amid ongoing injury problems.
The 30-year-old is now sidelined until the New Year with a hamstring issue and is due to join up with Ghana for the Africa Cup of Nations, which runs from Jan. 13 to Feb. 11.
Reports in Italy stated Juventus are tracking Partey, and sources have told ESPN that Arsenal considered letting the midfielder to leave in the summer but a suitable offer failed to materialize amid reports clubs in Saudi Arabia were also interested at the time.
Arsenal are open to keeping Partey but it remains to be seen whether a club formalizes their interest as his departure would give Arsenal more financial clout to test Villa’s resolve in keeping Luiz.
Mikel Arteta may choose to prioritize other areas, however, given they are also tracking Brentford striker Ivan Toney and Wolves winger Pedro Neto.