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Douglas Luiz addresses Aston Villa future amid Arsenal, Manchester City links

Luiz addresses Aston Villa future amid Arsenal, Man City links
© Reuters
Arsenal and Manchester City-linked Douglas Luiz welcomes the transfer "stories" surrounding his future, but the midfielder has expressed his "love" for Aston Villa.

Douglas Luiz has welcomed the transfer "stories" surrounding his future, but the midfielder has expressed his "love" for Aston Villa and remains focused on improving under Unai Emery.

The 25-year-old has established himself as an integral first-team player at Villa Park and has transformed into one of the Premier League's best all-round midfielders since the arrival of Emery just over a year ago.

Luiz has been given the licence to roam further forward under Emery and has contributed with 10 goals and seven assists in 40 Premier League appearances for Villa since the Spaniard's arrival, including five goals and two assists in 14 top-flight games this season.

The Brazilian has worked his way back into the national team setup and he has also caught the eye of a number of top European clubs in recent months, with Arsenal understood to have identified Villa's No.6 as their primary midfield target for 2024.

A possible return to Man City, where Luiz spent two years but failed to make a single appearance between 2017 and 2019, has also been mooted, while Liverpool are another club that have been credited with an interest.

Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz celebrates scoring against West Ham United on October 22, 2023© Reuters

Luiz has admitted that he is aware of the rumours surrounding his future, but the midfielder has expressed his devotion to Aston Villa and will not let "stories" distract him.

"I am very happy to hear the stories but I am here at Aston Villa," Luiz said in an interview with Sky Sports. "My focus is totally here. I don't spend a lot of time looking at the stories. I see them, but I don't focus on that and I'm not looking at it every day. My head is here at Aston Villa.

"Aston Villa is a club that opened its doors to me when I came to England, so I have a lot of affection and a lot of love for it."

Discussing his brief stint at Man City and successive loan spells at Spanish outfit Girona, Luiz said: "The time I had [at Man City] was very difficult, to tell the truth. I had just left Brazil and in my first year at Girona, I only started three games.

"But in the end, it was good, because I learned a lot there, that life is not only about playing, and that you have to maintain your respect for your teammates. For sure, I grew a lot there."

"I have been [at Aston Villa] for five years, so I have a big responsibility in our team now," Luiz added. "I am one of our captains and that drives me a lot. I know the player I am, and I know the player I can become."

 Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz on March 17, 2023© Reuters

Luiz believes that he is enjoying the "best moment" of his career at Aston Villa and he has put his development and the rapid rise of the West Midlands club down to Emery.

"Unai, honestly, is an incredible manager," said Luiz. "Since he arrived here, he has changed the history of the club. Aston Villa is a very big club in England, but things weren't going so well. Unai has changed it. Now, people respect the club and the players more."

"I believe I am in the best moment of my career. The manager demands a lot from me and I believe he has helped me a lot as well. I am happier than ever to keep working and continue evolving.

"He is a manager who is helping me a lot and who asks a lot from me. He wants me to give more assists, to score goals, to arrive well in the box and to help the team defensively as well.

"He pushes me a lot, but I like that. He is always there to talk with me. Whenever I need something, I just ask him and we talk. Then, when he needs something from me, I can also help him."

Luiz is expected to start against his former club Man City when Aston Villa welcome the reigning Premier League champions to Villa Park on Wednesday night.

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2Manchester CityMan City25175358263256
4Aston Villa25154652331949
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs25145652381447
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd2514293534144
7Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2510874840838
8Newcastle UnitedNewcastle251141053411237
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham2510693644-836
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves25105103940-135
15Crystal Palace2567122844-1625
16Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2566133244-1224
18Luton TownLuton2555153551-1620
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2534182265-4313

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