Manchester City are considering re-signing midfielder Douglas Luiz from Aston Villa this summer, with manager Pep Guardiola a huge fan of the 22-year-old Brazilian.
City inserted a buy-back clause into the £15m deal when they sold him a year ago and are now weighing up whether to trigger it, regardless of whether Villa remain in the Premier League.
Luiz was officially a City player for two seasons after arriving from Vasco da Gama in 2017 but was never actually able to represent the club as a result of work permit restrictions.
He was still a teenager at the time of his initial switch to England and had no track record of senior international football that would have made him eligible. The transfer fee was also too small to be considered worthy of exceptional circumstances.
Luiz was therefore sent on loan to partner club Girona for two years, after which he joined Villa for £15m, a figure large to secure him exceptional status for a work permit.
He has been a rare shining light for a struggling Villa side this season and has appeared in all but two of the club’s 35 Premier League games, starting 25 of them. His form for Villa has been such that he even played his way into Brazil’s senior squad for the last international break in November.
Even though Luiz is Villa’s player – he is determined to help them stay up – City hold the power because they can activate the buy-back clause at any time. Even if they didn’t want him for themselves, they could still trigger it and potentially sell for a profit.
But 90min has been informed that having Luiz back in Manchester is a genuine consideration for City as they weigh up options to strengthen midfield, with David Silva leaving the club at the end of the month and Fernandinho almost exclusively operating as a centre-back this season.
A City source explained, “Midfield is an area the club are looking at and a lot of names are being considered and one of those is Douglas. He is hugely talented and has shown that at Villa, and he could now get the chance to show that at the Etihad – should they bring him back.”
90min understands that Guardiola is an admirer of Luiz and is contemplating bringing him back to City, as opposed to splashing more cash on alternatives like Atalanta’s Marten De Roon, who played against them in the Champions League, and Southampton's Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.