By Anthony Onifade

10th Oct, 2023 | 3:40pm

Douglas Luiz should be on verge of contract extension at Aston Villa, Unai Emery can't do without him

Aston Villa sealed the contract extension of striker Ollie Watkins last week but Unai Emery must be quick to sanction another in Douglas Luiz who’s been the subject of transfer interest in the past.

The Villans announced the extension of Watkin’s contract on 6 October, with the England international signing a new deal until 2028.

The 27-year-old has been in stellar form so far this campaign, registering a whopping seven goals in 11 games in all competitions which certainly highlighted Villa’s need to tie him down to a new deal with several elite clubs possibly on alert to his contract situation.

Watkins has certainly become a well-rounded component for Emery, not only capable of scoring goals but creating them, ranking in the 82nd percentile for strikers in Europe’s top five leagues for assists per 90, and the 88th percentile for goal-creating actions per 90 [FBRef].

However, he certainly isn’t the only one at Villa Park making waves under Emery’s leadership with midfield maestro Douglas Luiz already becoming one of the best of his position in the Premier League under the Spaniard.

With Watkins attracting interest in the past, Luiz hasn’t been too far away from Premier League interest also.

The Daily Mail reported on 20 July that North London outfit Tottenham were keen on signing the Brazilian maestro as a potential replacement for Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg who was expected to depart this summer, with Atletico Madrid on the prowl.

Not only Spurs but Arsenal were linked with a move for the Brazilian also [The Sun, 20 July] with reports suggesting they were set to hijack their fierce rivals’ move for the former Manchester City maestro.

The Villans are certainly on the rise at the moment which has been further highlighted by the impressive transfer business during the summer securing deals for the likes of Youri Tielemans from Leicester City, Pau Torres from Emery’s former side Villarreal, Moussa Diaby and Nicolo Zaniolo.

And while there could be more ambitious moves occurring in the future, it is absolutely crucial the Spaniard keeps the core of his squad together as they embark on a whole new territory in the coming months, and having secured Watkins’ future in the West Midlands it would be crucial for the same to be sanctioned for Luiz.

The Brazilian’s contract still has three years to run [Transfermarkt] but that won’t stop elite suitors from returning to the table in the near future if Aston Villa don’t get his future sorted out fast.

Since Emery’s appointment, Luiz has been just as pivotal and instrumental as Watkins has.

And the stats proved as much, with the former Manchester City midfielder recording the best goal contributions record of his career in the Premier League last season with six goals and six assists, which has seen him draw several praises from ex-Aston Villa forward Gabby Agbonlahor who called him “outstanding”.

It comes in stark contrast to his nine-goal involvements (three goals, six assists) in 77 matches under Dean Smith, and four-goal involvements (three goals, one assist) in 36 matches under Gerrard highlighting how much Emery has transformed and progressed his game in an Aston Villa shirt.

The Brazilian was amongst the best Villa players last season ranking second throughout the team for assists (6), first for key passes per game (1.2), second for passing success rate out of any Villa player to start more than 10 times in the Premier League, third for tackles per game also registered the second-most interceptions in the Villa squad [WhoScored].

He’s followed up that form this season, registering three goals already this season with his latest against Brighton in their 6-1 win on 30 September becoming the second player to score in five successive Premier League appearances at Villa Park, with Dwight Yorke achieving the feat in December 1996, as per OptaJoe (30 September).

Along with home goals against Brighton, Crystal Palace and Everton this season, the midfielder netted against Tottenham and the Seagulls in his club’s final two home matches of the previous campaign.

The goal wasn’t his only impressive moment at the weekend, with Luiz completing 37 of his 40 passes (93%), one of which was key, with the 25-year-old also winning five of his eight ground duels and making three tackles, as per SofaScore.

The Brazil ace has now made 162 appearances for the club, where he has scored 16 goals and registered 14 assists, with Aston Villa fans hoping that all three of those figures will rise in the coming months.

With that in mind, his future will need to be further guaranteed right now.

In other Aston Villa news, a “clinical” player sent an international manager a message after his 5 key pass showing against Brighton.