Aston Villa could be set to make another big statement of intent in the near future, by signing Manchester City midfielder Douglas Luiz for a reported £15m.
Luiz - if a work permit is granted - is poised to become Dean Smith's eighth signing of a frantic summer spending spree, which has already witnessed the arrivals of record-signing Wesley, Ezri Konsa and Jota,
He Came Through the Vasco da Gama Youth Academy
Wallpapers & Capa • Douglas Luiz • Vasco da Gama pic.twitter.com/C2qxIsUf5Z— NewsColina! (@newscolina) May 22, 2017
Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1998, Luiz was snapped up by one of the city's biggest clubs in Vasco de Gama when he was 14.
His move to Manchester City in 2017, continued the club's tradition of developing players who then go on to secure moves to some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Notable Vasco de Gama youth team alumni include: Bayer Leverkusen's Paulinho, Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho and most impressive of all, Balon d'Or winner Romario.
If Luiz goes on to replicate some of the achievements of his fellow youth team graduates, Aston Villa may just be picking up one of the bargains of the summer.
He Started Off as a Right Back
Although his senior career has been almost entirely as a centre-midfielder of some variety, Luiz started off his footballing development playing as a right back for Vasco de Gama's under-17 side.
This thrust Luiz into an unfamiliar full back role and his time spent out wide has left a lasting legacy on his playing style, with the 21-year-old prone to drifting towards the wings.
This will likely make the Brazilian well suited to Dean Smith's tactical system. This is because the attacking runs of wingers Albert Adomah and Anwar El Ghazi frequently left pockets of space out wide last season. These holes can hopefully now be filled by Luiz.
Manchester City Could Not Get a Work Permit For Him
In a situation that must have frustrated Pep Guardiola no end (especially considering Man City's failure to find a suitable backup to Fernandinho in recent seasons), Douglas Luiz was refused a work permit following his move to Man City in 2017.
Guardiola then re-applied for Luiz's permit in 2018, but again it was rejected, this time just three hours before the close of the transfer window (ouch!).
Do not worry though Villa fans. Reports suggest that the club are confident that they can avoid any such problems. Let's hope that if the FA does reject the Brazilian's appeals again, they give Dean Smith slightly more notice than they afforded the Citizens last season!
He's the Brazilian Under-23 Captain
Aston Villa have agreed a £15m deal with #ManCity for Brazil under-23 captain Douglas Luiz.— BBC RM Sport (@BBCRMsport) July 12, 2019
City manager Pep Guardiola rates the player highly but he was refused a work permit before the start of last season - Villa are confident they will avoid any similar problems. pic.twitter.com/0wiTLj2tda
Luiz comes to Villa Park with a wealth of international experience, having been capped on seven occasions by Brazil's under-20s, whilst he was also recently named his country's under-23s captain.
Luiz has skippered the side to victories over Guatemala, Qatar and France's Under-18s this summer, spending the majority of these games marshalling the midfield alongside the more attack-minded Wendel.
These leadership skills should serve Luiz well as he attempts adapt to the mentally demanding nature of playing regular Premier League football.
He Spent the Last Two Seasons at Girona
After failing to get a work permit in England, Luiz was shipped out on loan to La Liga minnows Girona for two seasons, following the City Football Group's purchase of the Catalan club in 2017.
Luiz got off to a slow start during the 2017/2018 campaign, managing only one start all campaign, as Girona impressively finished tenth in La Liga.
The following season was a more fruitful one for Luiz personally. The Brazilian managed 29 appearances in all competitions, cutting a composed figure in the middle of the park that defied his tender years.
Unfortunately, Luiz's increased contribution was not enough to save Girona from the drop and the Brazilian will be determined to avoid another relegation this season for Villa.
Pep Guardiola Has Spoken Very Highly of Him
An endorsement from Pep Guardiola is normally a fairly safe indication of a player's ability.
In July 2018, Guardiola told Man City's official website that Luiz 'has real potential', also going on to praise the youngsters physical strength and willingness to learn.
The 48-year-old also fought tooth and nail to get Luiz a work permit last summer, even sending in video footage of the youngster in action in a desperate attempt to convince the FA to allow the Brazilian a spot in City's Premier League squad.
Needless to say, this level of commitment would suggest that Guardiola will be sad to see Luiz go.