Aston Villa were unable to make it five wins on the bounce as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Bournemouth in the Premier League on Sunday.
The Villans had won their last four matches in all competitions in the build-up to the game but went 1-0 and 2-1 down to the Cherries at the Vitality Stadium, with goals from Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins helping them to secure a point in the end.
Unai Emery’s side are fourth in the division as it stands and four points off Arsenal at the top of the table, with nine wins, three defeats, and 29 points after 14 matchdays.
They are currently competing for a spot in next season’s Champions League, and are top of their Europa Conference League group as it stands, but that has not stopped speculation over the future of their star players.
Aston Villa transfer news – Douglas Luiz and Kenneth Taylor
TEAMtalk reported at the end of last month that Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester City are all interested in signing Douglas Luiz in January.
The outlet claimed that the club are keen to keep hold of the Brazil international and that it would take an offer in the region of £80m to tempt them into parting ways with him, and it remains to be seen whether or not any of those three sides are prepared to pay that.
However, Villa are not one of the established top clubs in the country that have won major trophies consistently over a prolonged period of time and this means that their players could be tempted by moves elsewhere.
Jack Grealish is an example of this as he completed a then-British record move to Manchester City for £100m in 2021, albeit Villa did not have a manager of Emery’s stature in place and were not playing European football at the time.
Moises Caicedo is, perhaps, a better example from a club in a similar position to the Villans. Brighton are not a regular top six contender but reached the Europa League last season and still lost the Ecuador international to Chelsea, who are not in any European competition, for a fee of £115m.
This means that it is not completely out of the realms of possibility that Luiz will move on from the club, whether that is in January or next summer.
Villa will likely have plans in place to replace him if that situation does come around and reported target Kenneth Taylor could come in as an exciting replacement.
TEAMtalk reported earlier this month that the Villans are one of a number of teams keeping tabs on the Ajax starlet ahead of the January transfer window.
Tottenham, Newcastle, and Brighton are also said to be looking at the Dutch whiz, who could be on the move from his boyhood club in 2024.
The report claims that Ajax are weighing up whether or not to move him on next year after their poor start to the 2023/24 campaign. However, the player is may not be receptive to a January exit and could wait until the summer.
Douglas Luiz’s season in numbers
It would be a big blow to lose Luiz as the former Manchester City prospect has enjoyed a phenomenal start to the season under Emery.
The Brazil international has been a key cog in the Spaniard’s midfield with his superb performances in the Premier League, having caught the eye throughout the 2022/23 campaign as well.
Luiz contributed with six goals and six assists in 37 top-flight matches for the Villans, to go along with 3.1 tackles and interceptions per match and a duel success rate of 51%.
The £80m-rated talent has followed that up with a return of five goals, two assists, and three ‘big chances’ created in 14 Premier League appearances this term.
He has also made three tackles and interceptions combined and 6.4 ball recoveries per game, which shows that the talented gem has steel as well as craft to his game.
Luiz has the quality to make an impact in and out of possession from his deep-lying midfield position and that is why it would be a difficult task to find a replacement for him if Arsenal, Liverpool, or City manage to snap him up in January or at the end of the season.
The statistics that show why Taylor could replace Luiz
The reported Villa target has not been at his glittering best in the current campaign as Ajax have struggled and sit in eighth after 13 matches.
Taylor has contributed with one goal and one assist in 13 appearances for the Dutch giants in the Eredivisie, along with 1.3 tackles and interceptions and 3.7 ball recoveries per game.
These statistics do not suggest that the central midfielder would be able to come in and replicate the impact that Luiz has had on the pitch this season.
However, the 21-year-old whiz caught the eye with his performances during the 2022/23 campaign and could be a fine replacement for the Brazilian if Emery worked his magic and got him playing at his best again.
Taylor scored eight goals, provided three assists, and created four ‘big chances’ in 32 top-flight appearances for Ajax last season, which shows that he has the quality to make a big impact at the top end of the pitch.
The left-footed gem, who talent scout Jacek Kulig once described as a “big talent” with an “exciting future” ahead, also made 2.3 tackles and interceptions per match to go along with a duel success rate of 49%.
This suggests that the potential is there for him to be a presence on and off the ball with his ability to win possession back for the side, whilst he also has the quality to make things happen moving forward.
Over the last 365 days, as shown above, Taylor has averaged 7.74 progressive passes per 90 for Ajax. During that time, Luiz has averaged 5.23 progressive passes per 90 for the Villans.
The 6 foot prospect could, therefore, provide more incision than the current Villa star with his ability to break lines and play through the thirds with his passes.
Couple that with his aforementioned defensive and offensive attributes and Emery could secure an ideal replacement for Luiz by winning the race for Taylor’s signature.