Paul Merson praises ‘very underrated’ Arsenal target Douglas Luiz | Football

Douglas Luiz has been key to Aston Villa’s title challenge (Photo: Getty)

Paul Merson reckons that Arsenal target Douglas Luiz is as good as the Premier League’s best defensive midfielders like Declan Rice and Rodri.

Arsenal have been linked with signing the Aston Villa star for the last 18 months, and in that time his stock has only grown and grown.

The Brazil International has been a key player for Unai Emery’s side, helping them mount an unlikely title challenge, with the Villans currently second in the table, three points off leaders Liverpool and two ahead of the Gunners.

Mikel Arteta’s interest in Luiz has admittedly cooled in recent times, partly due to Arsenal lacking the financial power to sign the 25-year-old who has been valued at over £70million.

One cannot rule out them making a move in the summer, though in the meantime, the North Londoners have turned their attention to Everton’s Amadou Onana.

But perhaps they should wait until they can afford Luiz, with Arsenal legend Merson heaping praise on the midfielder and labelling him as one of the most underrated players in the Premier League this season.

‘I’ve been on about the Aston Villa man for god knows how long, so people know I’ve always been a huge fan of him,’ Merson told Sportskeeda.

Arsenal v Liverpool - Emirates FA Cup Third Round

Is Luiz as good as Arsenal’s Declan Rice? (Photo: Getty)

‘When Arsenal wanted to sign him a year ago, but people didn’t really rate him too highly but now, everyone can see what he’s all about as he’s been absolutely ripping it up for Aston Villa this season.

‘He can sit as a holding midfielder and mop things up for his team but he also gets in the box and scores goals – as we’ve seen so often this season.

‘He’s quite well-rounded and still very underrated, but in the 2023-24 campaign, he has started getting his fair share of recognition.

‘People wouldn’t put him in the same breath as Declan Rice or Rodri, but based on their performances this season, I’d certainly put Luiz up there with the pair.

‘With Casemiro and Fabinho past their best in recent seasons, the ex-Manchester City midfielder could also become a key player for Brazil in the years ahead.’

Luiz will have the chance to help his club move level with Liverpool on Sunday when Villa travel to Everton.


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