June 5th 2021 - Douglas Luiz Day.
The day that Villa fans can stop worrying that Manchester City will stop circling round their former midfielder. Aston Villa signed the Brazilian back in the Summer Window in 2019 for a bargain fee of around £15m, but had to agree to a potential Man City buyback, with that however not being triggered it does indeed look like a bargain.
Although, the buyback does expire today, Manchester City could technically trigger it today and sign the player later in the window, similarly to what Villa did with Anwar El Ghazi as his deal expired the day after the Play Off Final, but it is understood that Manchester City have no interest in pursuing a move for Luiz in this window.
Douglas Luiz has gone on to make 68 league appearances for Villa marking up 3 goals, all in the season of 2019-20. He has played a number of positions, more advanced and more defensive in the claret and blue and Villa are still yet to really find a consistent best position for the Brazilian international. With the Brazilian putting in some outstanding performances in Project Restart in a more defensive role, he was trusted with that going into 2020-21. At times, he has looked a very good option there, but especially in the second half of the season, he (and Aston Villa) began to tail off a bit, with Nakamba starting to take his place as the season progressed. Luiz's poor form does coincide with the loss of Jack Grealish, possibly as Aston Villa had more defending to do, and struggle to dominate games and hold onto the ball, this exposed the midfield and Luiz.
There is no doubt that Douglas Luiz, indeed, has a big future at the club, but it will be interesting to see what role he plays next season, if you compare Luiz to other midfielders in Europe, he is above average for blocks, passes blocks and shots blocked and averages 7 long passes per game. 1 tackle per game though is disappointing for a player predominantly playing in DM, but is still above average. Luiz also averages 7 pressures per 90, which shows his importance in the system.
Looking at the above stats, I think its fair to say that Luiz ranks as an above average midfielder, it is understood that Aston Villa could be in the market for a more robust, stronger midfielder and we do think that is needed in the middle of the park, to really control games. That doesn't mean the end for Luiz who would most likely play in a higher up midfield role or as a rotation option with the likes of Sanson, McGinn, Ramsey. Personally, I would like to see Luiz in that higher midfield role like some of the 2019-20 season, where we saw his ability to strike a ball from the edge of the area and how dangerous he can be with late runs into the box, also as one of Aston Villa's most skillful players in tighter games or tougher games I think he would be more influential at the top end of the pitch.
No matter what happens I am excited to see how Luiz progresses as a Brazilian international and as a player for Aston Villa.