Roma boss Jose Mourinho has identified Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz as a transfer alternative to Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, according to a report.
Ex-Spurs boss Mourinho is facing a busy start to life at the Serie A club after taking over from Paulo Fonseca – who is going the other way. Speculation is mounting over current midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini. Indeed, Mourinho has reportedly called the player to reassure him amid interest from Spurs and Liverpool.
As for arrivals, though, Switzerland international Xhaka has had strong links with a move to the Italian capital.
But despite initial optimism over the deal, talks between Arsenal and Roma have hit a standstill.
As a result, Corrierre dello Sport reports (via Sport Witness) that Mourinho has set his sights on Villa’s Luiz.
The 23-year-old has impressed for Dean Smith’s since leaving Manchester City in the summer of 2019.
He has made 76 appearances, missing only seven Premier League matches in his two seasons at Villa Park.
However, the Brazilian has also stepped up on the international stage. After earning his first cap in November 2019, he now forms part of manager Tite’s Copa America squad.
Another report from Il Tempo adds that while Roma are only ‘monitoring’ Luiz for now, their interest could step up. Roma general manager Tiago Pinto is an admirer of the midfielder.
In any case, Villa reportedly value their star at between €35million (£30million) and €40million (£34million).
Even so, City could yet take him back as per their €30million (£26million) buyback clause.
Such a fee is higher than what Roma would have to pay for Xhaka – even amid the current disagreement – but the figure has not yet put the Serie A side off just yet.
As for the hold-up with Xhaka, Arsenal have reportedly rejected a third bid for the 28-year-old. Corrierre della Serra adds (via Sport Witness) that Roma only want to pay €15million (£13million) for him.
Arsenal eye up goalkeeper transfer
With Xhaka looking to leave Arsenal, the Gunners are aiming to use the money to fund arrivals in what will be a crucial summer transfer window.
Arsenal’s eighth-placed Premier League finish last season means they will struggle to attract top players and will be without the immediate finances to do so.
Goalkeeper is a key part of the team to add to, with Mat Ryan leaving as back-up to Bernd Leno.