Why Man City should consider exercising buy-back clause for Douglas Luiz
The 21-year-old, who rose to prominence in Brazil with his boyhood club Vasco da Gama, was snapped up by the Citizens as a long-term successor to the throne of Fernandinho in 2017.
Luiz was thereafter sent out on loan to City’s sister club Girona in the La Liga to gain some professional experience in Europe and Guardiola had been keen to include him in the first-team for the previous campaign after the youngster’s impressive displays in pre-season.
However, Man City were forced to arrange a second successive loan spell for the Brazilian at Girona after he was denied a work permit to play in England and when Aston Villa put up a £15million offer on the table this summer, the Citizens decided that selling Luiz to the Lions was in the best interests of all parties.
The reigning Premier League champions, though, inserted a buy-back clause in the agreement, which would enable them to bring Douglas Luiz back to the Etihad in the near future.
City exercised a buy-back clause to bring Angelino back to the club from PSV Eindhoven this summer and Pep Guardiola has kept the door open to a return for the Brazilian, as per Manchester Evening News.
Having gained a fair bit of experience in Spain, the 21-year-old has already made a positive impression for Aston Villa in the Premier League this term, scoring a couple of screamers against Bournemouth and Norwich City.
Luiz has started thrice in the Premier League for the Villans, while also making four substitute appearances off the bench and as per the report, Guardiola is keeping close tabs on his performances.
As a matter of fact, the starlet has also earned a maiden call-up to Brazil’s senior national side as a result of his fine displays at Aston Villa and Man City could be tempted to exercise the buy-back clause if he continues his good work.
The Citizens shattered their club-record fee to bring in Rodri from Atletico Madrid in the summer to release the pressure on Fernandinho’s shoulders and the Spaniard has already hit the ground running in English football.
The Spaniard has fitted seamlessly into Guardiola’s 4-3-3 system and early signs suggest that he could go on to emulate Fernandinho’s success at the Etihad in the years to follow.
Rodri has been used in an unfamiliar centre-back role on a number of occasions due to the club’s ongoing defensive crisis but one would expect him to return to his usual role at the base of the midfield once Aymeric Laporte makes his return from injury.
Despite that, however, bringing Douglas Luiz back to the Etihad next summer would certainly make a lot of sense for Man City given that Fernandinho could depart the club upon the expiry of his contract.
Of course, City might opt to hold on to the 34-year-old for another year but that would only be a step backwards given that they would eventually have to part ways with Fernandinho sooner or later.
On the contrary, offering Douglas Luiz a chance to prove his worth would make a lot more sense looking at the future. At 21, he isn’t really a finished article but the youngster has already illustrated his ability to make an impact on the Premier League.
Agreed, he would only be an understudy to Rodri, who is a more accomplished player in Europe at the moment, but City need depth in their central midfield options and Luiz could provide Guardiola with some much-needed cover.
Ilkay Gundogan has been used occasionally in that role but his creative qualities are better utilised in a box-to-box role where he is allowed more freedom to go forward and express himself.
Luiz looks more like a player in the mould of Fernandinho and City have every reason to include him in their plans moving forward, with the starlet showing signs of thriving in the Premier League and the stumbling block of securing a work permit now out of the frame.
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That said, Man City should continue to monitor Luiz closely over the course of the ongoing season and if he lives up to the expectations, there is no reason why the reigning champions shouldn’t consider exercising the buy-back clause in the agreement.