Arsenal may have three Douglas Luiz alternatives as Gunners dealt blow

Bodø/Glimt v Arsenal: Match in pictures

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will be forced to broaden his search for a new midfielder in the January transfer window after Douglas Luiz signed a new and improved contract at Aston Villa on Friday. Luiz was believed to be a target for the Gunners, who tried and failed to snap him up over the summer, but will now almost certainly be staying at Villa after committing his future to the west Midlands club on a long-term basis.

Arsenal tabled as many as three unsuccessful bids for Luiz on deadline day but saw them all rebuffed by Villa, who stood firm to prevent the 24-year-old from moving to north London. It was reported that Arsenal were keen on renewing their pursuit of the midfielder in the upcoming January window, but it seems as though they will need to look elsewhere in order to strengthen their ranks in the engine room.

The Gunners may be inclined to explore the possibility of a move for Youri Tielemans, who has long been linked with a move away from Leicester City after refusing to sign a new deal with the club earlier this year. He has already proven his worth as one of the Premier League’s most influential midfielders on his day and will be out of contract at the end of the season, which suggests that Arsenal may be able to land him in January for a cut-price fee.

Leicester would likely be open to offers at the turn of the year if Tielemans fails to extend his current deal by then, as the Foxes would be running the risk of seeing him leave on a free transfer by declining to cash in. The 25-year-old would almost certainly be able to improve Arsenal’s midfield unit with his ability to score goals and strong defensive prowess, although it remains to be seen if he will be targeted as an alternative to Luiz when the January window opens.

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Lazio playmaker Sergey Miinkovic-Savic, who has been mentioned in connection with a number of Premier League clubs for many years, could also be an intriguing option for Arsenal to pursue next year. He was reportedly made available for a move elsewhere over the summer but ultimately ended up staying at Lazio and has already chipped in with seven assists in nine league appearances since the beginning of the season.

Milinkovic-Savic’s imposing midfield presence and wealth of top-level experience would make him a shrewd addition for Arsenal, who will be hoping to stay strong at the business end of the season to earn a long-awaited return to next year’s Champions League. A move for his services would likely cost the Gunners a significant amount of money, though, with Lazio chief Claudio Lotito having recently insisted that Milinkovic-Savic will only be allowed to leave in exchange for a nine-figure fee.

The financial implications of signing Milinkovic-Savic could lead Arsenal to rekindle their interest in Palmeiras enforcer Danilo, who is said to be valued at around £20million by his current employers. He has been one of the best performers in South America in recent months and could potentially emerge as an attractive option for Arsenal in January as a result of his relatively modest asking price.

Arsenal enquired about Danilo’s availability over the summer but did not follow up on their initial talks with Palmeiras, although a renewed approach over the coming months would not be out of the question in light of Luiz’s decision to extend his stay at Villa Park. The Gunners will certainly have a plethora of midfield targets to mull over when the transfer market reopens, but only time will tell if they can find the right man to provide that extra injection of quality ahead of the Premier League run-in.


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