Brazilian midfielder, Douglas Luiz, who kept Marvelous Nakamba on the Aston Villa bench, for the better part of the English Premiership campaign last season, is now being targeted by Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese coach is starting a new job at Italian giants, AS Roma, and has set his sights on a summer swoop for the Brazilian, according to reports from BirminghamLive.
Last season’s Europa League semi-finalists are currently involved in a long-running transfer dispute surrounding Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, with Roma and the Gunners still unable to agree a fee for the Swiss star.
BirminghamLive has been informed how Roma — now managed by Jose Mourinho — are now trying to strike a deal for Luiz, with the 23-year-old currently with Brazil at the Copa America.
The Serie A side remain desperate for a central midfielder and, despite agreeing personal terms with Xhaka, a transfer has continued to hit a snag over Arsenal’s asking price.
The football.london website explained how Roma want to shake hands on a knock-down fee for Xhaka.
However, the Gunners are holding out for around £17 million for the 28-year-old, who signed for Arsenal for as much as £40,5 million back in 2016.
It has been reported how Roma have had a bid rejected in the region of £12,9 million for the Swiss captain, who has already agreed a five-year deal at the Stadio Olimpico. Xhaka’s Arsenal contract, meanwhile, has another two years left to run.
Roma, though, are said to be “playing games” given the leak surrounding their interest in Douglas, with the Italians remaining hopeful of hammering down Arsenal’s asking price for Xhaka. A club insider at Roma has declared Douglas as their second option.
Villa head coach Deam Smith rates the ex-Manchester City midfielder highly after his £15 million transfer back in the summer of 2019.
Just 10 days ago, City’s £27,5 million buy-back option on their former star expired, and Villa are now said to be looking to tie the South American down on a new, long-term contract, knowing his current deal expires in June 2023. BirminghamLive understands that Luiz is valued at £30 million-plus.
Jack Grealish, John McGinn, Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa and Matt Targett have all signed new long-term contracts in recent months, with Smith keen to build around his core of top performers.
“We want progression again,” Smith said a fortnight ago.
“That is why we have a younger squad because we know these players will get better, getting them on longer term contracts is really important.
“It is alright bringing in young players and building their value. But I’m hopeful players will come to Aston Villa, like Ezri Konsa, and spend six, seven or eight years here. If they are doing that it means the club is progressing.
“That is an important part of the plan moving forward.”
Villa, meanwhile, remain in the market for a midfielder with Metz’s Pape Matar Sarr and Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse both on Villa’s radar.
Smith has Morgan Sanson, Marvelous Nakamba, McGinn, Jacob Ramsey, Conor Hourihane and Douglas as his midfield options at present.
Meanwhile, the Marvelous Nakamba Under-17 football tournament, which was scheduled for this weekend in Bulawayo, was postponed indefinitely.
The inaugural youth tournament was slated for June 19 and 20 at White City and Luveve.
However, the Marvelous Nakamba Foundation said the tournament could not be held in the wake of the suspension of all sporting activities to try and combat the spread of Covid-19.
“The Foundation would like to advise the general public that the tournament that was originally slated for 19 and 20 June has been postponed to a later date,’’ they said in a statement.
“This is in compliance to a statement issued out by the Vice-President (Constantino Chiwenga).
“We support all efforts that go a long way in curbing the spread of the deadly pandemic Covid-19 and in that light we have put on hold plans for the tournament.’’
Nakamba urged the country to comply with all regulations meant to fight the spread of Covid-19.
“All systems that had been put in place will stay on hold, up to a time when it’s safe to hold the tournament. We would love to thank everyone who had been assisting and or cooperating in making the event successful.
“Stay home, Mask Up and Stay Safe all the time,” said Nakamba.
Nakamba had invited some scouts from Europe to grace the tournament.
Teams that were selected to take part in the first edition were Highlanders, Dynamos, Njube Spurs, Hwange Dynamo, Albun Academy, Bulawayo City, Ajax Hot Spurs, and Chicken Inn. — The Herald/BirminghamLive.