By Graham Hill
DOUGLAS Luiz may end up back at Manchester City one day if Pep Guardiola’s recommendation is anything to go by.
But right now, Villa look to be getting one of the rising stars of the game on their books – in the short term at least.
On paper, it is a win-win situation for Dean Smith. He has a player of ‘real potential’ according to Guardiola.
The only reason City cannot keep him at the moment is that the Brazil Under-23 captain would not be given a work permit as part of the club’s army of star talent.
Luiz is not a full Brazil international and has never played for City as a result.
Selling him to Villa – a newly promoted side – means his worth this season as a first team player will be increased.
City are believed to have a ‘buyback’ clause as part of the Villa deal – that means they can automatically return for the player in 12-24 months’ time when Luiz is likely to have extensive Premier League experience.
A work permit would then not be a problem for City and they would resume with a player who would still only be in his early 20s.
Does that mean Villa are simply fine tuning a player for City to take advantage of in the future? Perhaps.
But if Luiz can help Villa consolidate their position in the Premier League as a team that can challenge in the top flight again, then they will be in a position to strengthen again.
Certainly the words of Guardiola suggest that City’s links with the player will be far from severed.
City had loaned out Luiz to Italian side Girona – and while this is no loan, there Guardiola has not forgotten about the defensive midfielder.
Guardiola once said of Luiz: “He has potential – real potential,”
“He’s physically strong and he wants to learn. It was a good experience but he didn’t play regularly in Girona.
“I knew him very well from Brazil and he has trained with us for 10 days.”
And Guardiola is known to have become frustrated with the work permit situation for Luiz.
The City boss added: ”I accept the rules but it’s difficult to understand. They don’t know him.
“They have to judge if he has the ability to decide. Me and the Brazil manager Tite know more about it. They don’t know him, not one game or training session,
“We spent £12-£14m because he’s a player with a huge capacity to play with us.
“I’m so sad and disappointed for Douglas, he could have played, he’s shown many good things.”
Before the Villa deal emerged, Guardiola said: ”We are going to send him on loan again and try to get the work permit. I don’t understand but we’re in England and you have to accept it.”