Chelsea join Arsenal in race for £40m midfielder as Barca want Blues ace as Busquets replacement

Date published: Tuesday 20th September 2022 7:45 - Will Ford

Transfer gossip - Douglas Luiz during a match

Chelsea are reportedly interested in signing Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz as Barcelona look to Stamford Bridge for a replacement for Sergio Busquets.

Luiz was heavily linked with the Villa Park exit at the end of the summer transfer window, with Arsenal said to have made three bids on deadline day, all of which fell short of Villa’s £40m valuation.

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Villa’s signing of Leander Dendoncker was thought perhaps to have been made with a view to parting with Luiz, but Steven Gerrard was keen to keep hold of him and said he thought the midfielder would “understand the situation”.

“I’ve got confidence that he’ll understand the situation and the club’s decision,” Gerrard said.

“We didn’t want to lose a very important player and a top player so late in the window. From a personal point of view I very much back the club’s stance on that.”

But Luiz will be available on a free transfer in the summer assuming he doesn’t sign a new contract with Villa, which looks unlikely.

A report on Monday claimed Luiz is ‘increasingly attracted’ to a transfer, and a move in January is possible given Villa would then receive at least a nominal fee for the 24-year-old.

And the Birmingham Mail claim Chelsea are now keen on a January move with a relatively cheap deal ‘a big plus as Todd Boehly continues to reconstruct the Blues squad following Graham Potter’s arrival’.

The Blues also have N’Golo Kante and Jorginho in mind, both of whom will be free to talk to overseas suitors in January should new contracts not be agreed beforehand.

Kante has reportedly been offered two years with the option of one more, but wants three plus one, while there is no movement on a new deal for Jorginho.

Reports have claimed that Chelsea are expected to make the Italy international an offer, but he may have had his head turned by reported interest from Barcelona.

Mirror claim the La Liga giants are looking at the 30-year-old as a replacement for Sergio Busquets, who will be 35 in the summer, and are attracted by the fact Jorginho will be available for nothing.

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