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Aston Villa make contract decision contrary to recent Gerrard claim for star ‘valued very highly’

Aston Villa have rejected an anonymous offer for Douglas Luiz, with whom they are now reportedly ready to enter contract talks.

There has been much speculation about the future of the Brazilian midfielder in recent days. He has been suggested as a target for Arsenal, who are looking to strengthen in midfield.

And with Villa trying to sign Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus and Yves Bissouma from Brighton to play in Douglas Luiz’s position, there may be room for a deal.

The 23-year-old is out of contract in 2023, so Villa could move him on. When Arsenal’s interest was recently reported, it was reminded that Steven Gerrard’s side are yet to open contract talks with their number six.

That is about to change, though. According to the Daily Telegraph reporter John Percy, Villa are “poised” to enter negotiations over a new contract for Douglas Luiz.

Details are scarce at present, so there is no indication of how long a new deal may last. Nor is it apparent how the player would respond.

But it is clear that Villa want to continue with the former Manchester City starlet. In fact, they have supposedly already rejected a bid this month. Whether that was from Arsenal or not is unclear.

Although Gerrard said Douglas Luiz has “done OK” for Villa when recently confirming contract talks were not yet open, he may be more praiseworthy behind the scenes.

Indeed, Percy says the nine-cap international is “valued very highly” by both Gerrard and club officials.

Therefore, they will want to retain his services after all. What that means for their pursuit of Bentancur is not disclosed.

As per Percy, anyway, Douglas Luiz has attracted interest from multiple Premier League clubs. That would indicate that Arsenal are not alone in their pursuit of the midfielder.

None of his suitors are named in Percy’s tweet. But all of them could be disappointed if Gerrard and Villa get their way.

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Villa trying to keep Douglas Luiz, but could offload teammate

While their plans for the Olympic goal medallist are to keep him around, one man they could get rid of is summer signing Ashley Young.

TEAMtalk exclusively revealed on Wednesday that Watford are looking to bring Ashley Young back to the club to bolster their relegation battle. But they face competition for his signature.

The 36-year-old former England international is not in the long-term plans of Villa boss Gerrard, who will not stand in his way.

Young is out of contract at the end of the season, as they won’t be taking up their option on him. It is believed Villa will let him leave for nothing, as long as his wages are covered.

Watford’s new boss Roy Hodgson is looking to make some in-roads in the transfer market. And Young is someone he has targeted.

Young earned 11 of his 39 caps for England under Hodgson. Now they could reunite at club level.

Young rejected the chance to join Watford in the summer when he chose to join another former club in the shape of Villa. He has since made 13 appearances in his second spell with the club, including six since Gerrard took charge.

But the new manager is open to allowing the former Manchester United and Inter Milan wide man to leave. As such, Watford want to take advantage.

However, we understand that there are other clubs interested in him, including relegation rivals.

Dean Smith took Young to Villa and would like a reunion at Norwich. Meanwhile, Newcastle believe he could be a valuable addition in the coming weeks.

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