Aston Villa are poised to make another huge statement of intent with the £15 million signing of Manchester City’s Douglas Luiz.
Villa are closing in on the capture of the Brazilian central midfielder after agreeing a fee with the Premier League champions, as Dean Smith moves to further strengthen his squad.
The Brazil under-23 captain, Douglas has been on loan at Girona for the past two seasons and is set to leave City without making a single appearance.
However, the 21 year-old is highly regarded by Pep Guardiola and there was frustration at City before the start of last season when the Football Association declined to grant Douglas a work permit.
Villa are understood to be confident of avoiding any such issues and are hoping to complete his signing in the next few days. Sources suggest the deal is approximately around the £15m mark. City are also understood to have inserted a buy-back clause.
Smith has been keen to add a defensive midfielder after the departures of Glenn Whelan and Mile Jedinak and Douglas is believed to be a recommendation from Villa’s sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch.
Douglas impressed last season during his performances in Spain for Girona, playing a key role in the Catalonia club’s memorable 2-1 win over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in February.
Villa have been trailing Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips for much of the summer, and it remains to be seen whether the signing of Douglas will end that interest.
Reims centre-half Bjorn Engels is another target for last season’s Championship play-off winners, with talks ongoing with the French club.
Villa have alternative targets for the position but will continue negotiations in the hope of securing a decent price for the former Belgium under-21 international.
Smith’s squad are currently in Minnesota for a pre-season training camp.