Mourinho identifies Aston Villa star as Xhaka alternative

Will Ford
Jose Mourinho Spurs
Jose Mourinho Spurs

Roma boss Jose Mourinho has reportedly identified Aston Villa star Douglas Luiz as an alternative to Granit Xhaka.

Xhaka has been heavily linked with a move to Roma, with recent reports suggesting a deal had already been agreed.

But the Arsenal star refused to comment on his future ahead of Switzerland’s draw with Wales on Saturday, insisting that his focus could not be drawn away from Euro 2020.

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“There are always rumours as soon as the transfer market opens but I don’t want to talk about my future,” Xhaka said ahead of Switzerland’s opening Euro 2020 game with Wales in Baku on Saturday.

“I am 100 per cent focused here with the national team and I want to keep that until the end of the tournament.

“What happens afterwards, you will then get to know about it. Everything else doesn’t distract me.

“I am fit and motivated and looking forward to doing a lot of things in this tournament for the team.”

And initial optimism over the deal has lessened somewhat in recent days.

Roma are said to only want to pay up to £13million for Xhaka and have seen three bids rejected by Arsenal.

And as a result, Corrierre dello Sport (via Sport Witness) claims that Mourinho has set his sights on Villa’s Luiz.

The 23-year-old has made 76 appearances in two seasons at Villa Park, haing moved from Manchester City in the summer of 2019.

His impressive displays have resulted in a call-up for Brazil and he is currently part of Tite’s Copa America squad.

A further report from Il Tempo adds that Roma are currently ‘monitoring’ Luiz but could step up their interest with general manager Tiago Pinto said to be a big admirer of the midfielder.

Villa reportedly value Luiz at between £30million and £34million and City hold a £26million buyback clause.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are looking for options to strengthen their midfield, whether Xhaka stays or goes.

Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves is one of their top targets, while they are also thought to be close to agreeing a deal for Belgian starlet Albert Sambi Lokonga.