Why Manchester City should exercise Douglas Luiz buy-back clause
According to Eurosport (h/t Birmingham Live), Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz has been linked with a return to his former club Manchester City. The Brazilian moved to Villa Park for £15million back in the summer of 2019, with the Cityzens retaining a buy-back clause on the highly-rated youngster as a part of the agreement.
The value of that buy-back clause is expected to stand at £30million next summer, having risen from £25million after the most-recent transfer window. As per the report, City are keeping a close eye on Luiz’s development and could opt to bring him back to the Etihad in January or at the end of the season.
Douglas Luiz rose through the youth ranks of Vasco da Gama and was promoted to the first-team in 2016. He helped his boyhood club secure promotion to the Brasileiro Serie A from the second-tier and subsequently caught the eye in the top-flight with a string of impressive displays.
The youngster’s rising stocks in his homeland paved the way for a move to Manchester City in 2017. Luiz, though, was forced to spend the next couple of seasons on loan at Girona after being denied a work permit to play professional football in England. The midfielder featured 46 times for Girona in all competitions before returning to City in 2019.
Luiz joined Aston Villa last summer and was one of the standout performers for the Villans in the previous campaign as Dean Smith’s side narrowly avoided relegation. The 22-year-old has contributed greatly to the club’s stunning start to the 2020-21 campaign, starting each of Villa’s 7 league fixtures so far.
The midfielder has made 50 appearances for Villa in all competitions so far, registering 3 goals and 4 assists in the process. Luiz has also earned 3 caps for Brazil at the senior level, having made his debut back in 2019.
Luiz looks ready to play a big role for City
Rodrigo Hernandez has taken over the reins from veteran Fernandinho as the first-choice holding midfielder in Pep Guardiola’s signature 4-3-3 system at the Etihad. The Spaniard has proven himself to be worth every penny of City’s massive £62.8million outlay last summer, acclimatising brilliantly to his new surroundings in Manchester over the past 12 months.
However, Man City will surely need someone to compete with Rodrigo for the No.6 role moving forward, with Fernandinho nearing his twilight at 35. The Brazilian is out of contract at the end of the season, meaning the Cityzens should definitely line up a younger alternative to restructure their midfield unit.
Ilkay Gundogan has occasionally been deployed in that position but the German’s best qualities as undoubtedly utilised in a box-to-box No.8 role.
Putting things into context, Manchester City need to look no further beyond Douglas Luiz in a bid to bolster their midfield unit. The Brazilian has made significant strides in his development at Aston Villa. The Cityzens exercising their buy-back clause would offer Guardiola some much-needed cover for Rodri at the base of the midfield.
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Douglas Luiz has established himself as one of the mainstays of Aston Villa’s midfield over the past year and still has his best years ahead of him at 22. The Brazilian has started to deliver on his potential and working under a charismatic manager like Guardiola will surely help him take his game to the next level.
Having said that, Man City would have a proven Premier League quality player competing for a place in their star-studded midfield if they manage to bring him back to the Etihad.