Five years of memories: Douglas Luiz's Aston Villa story

It looks almost certain that Douglas Luiz's Aston Villa career is coming to an end as a move to Juventus is in its final stages. This piece looks back on Luiz's Villa career and focuses on some of his greatest moments in claret and blue.
Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest - Premier League
Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest - Premier League / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

It has been reported today that Douglas Luiz has agreed a 4 year contract with Italian side Juventus, signalling the end of a superb Aston Villa career. Luiz was signed by Dean Smith in July 2019 and in the five year since signing for the club he has gone from strength to strength and become one of Villa's most important players. Luiz was instrumental in helping Villa to qualify for next seasons UEFA Champions League and will be a big miss for the club should the move to Juventus reach completion.

Luiz has certainly had his ups and downs in a Villa shirt in that five year period, and this piece will reflect on his Villa career.

2019/20 - The debut season

The majority of Villa fans would have known very little of Douglas Luiz prior to his move to Villa Park in 2019. Luiz was signed by Manchester City (so he must have something about him!) in 2017 before a two year loan spell in Spain with Girona. It was during this time abroad that Luiz caught the eye of the Villa scouts and he signed for Villa for an initial fee of 16.8 million euros.

The bleach blonde dreadlocks instantly brought some Brazilian flare and excitement to the Villa midfield. It wasn't too long before he made his mark. On Luiz's Villa Park debut he scored a 30 yard screamer in the defeat against Bournemouth and fans were quickly getting a sense of the type of player they had on their hands.

Douglas Luiz
Aston Villa v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League / Alex Morton/GettyImages

A decent run of performances for the team, playing primarily in a higher midfielder role alongside John McGinn with Marvellous Nakamba deeper, he earned himself a senior Brazil call up for the first time. Although the Villa team were struggling at the time, Luiz and his efforts were helping Villa fans feel positive about their new signing.

A goal and Brazilian samba like dancing in the thumping 5-1 win away at Norwich followed by a jump into the Holte End after scoring in the 2-1 win against Watford demonstrated both a sense of flare and fun as well as a growing connection with the Villa faithful.

Douglas Luiz, Wesley
Norwich City v Aston Villa - Premier League / Henry Browne/GettyImages
Douglas Luiz
Aston Villa v Watford FC - Premier League / Clive Mason/GettyImages

Soon came the break in the season due to COVID-19 which gave a struggling and relegation threatened Villa to have a break and regalvanise before the season re started. 3 months after football was cancelled, it returned, and Douglas Luiz proved to be Villa's best player for the remainder of that season. His superb form and ability to create things from midfield saw Villa's chances created increase and ultimately played a big part in Villa's survival in the Premier League.

2020/21 - COVID season

The COVID season was a strange year for all involved with football. Stadiums with no fans presented an almost meaningless feeling to the game. Luiz continued to impress, although had some rough patches in form. The most positive thing that came out of this season for Luiz was the fact the COVID break and the slightly more relaxed footballing scheduled allowed him time to improve his English. When Luiz arrived at the club he couldn't speak a word of the language and John McGinn admitted half way through the season that after six months of playing together Luiz didn't understand a word coming out of McGinn's mouth! Luiz spent a lot of his spare time with an English tutor in order to improve this and McGinn said himself he was impressed with the progress his Brazilian teammate had made with his ability to speak and listen to the English language.

John McGinn, Douglas Luiz
Aston Villa v Manchester City - Premier League / Pool/GettyImages

Luiz was regularly playing the full 90 minutes as a clear sign of his importance to Dean Smith and the team. He was integral in helping the Villa defence keep 14 clean sheets in this season as the protector of the back four.

2021/22 season

The 2021/22 season saw Luiz go up another level in his performances and this is when he started to attract some interest from top clubs, including Arsenal. However, there were also some struggles along the way under new Villa boss Steven Gerrard. Villa struggled to maintain any sort of positive consistency following Gerrard's appointment and generally form for most individuals went up and down like a yo-yo.

The signing of Phillipe Coutinho seemed to provide Luiz with a huge boost in confidence that the club were trying to grow their ambition and the connection between the two Brazilians was clear from the start. Memorable highlights from this season include the 4-0 hammering of Southampton at Villa Park in which Luiz scored and ran the show from midfield, as well as the brilliant celebration that followed his goal against Liverpool towards the end of the season. Luiz opened the scoring after just three minutes at Villa Park and proceed to run over to the corner flag and showcase some more dance moves learnt from the Brazilian streets!

Douglas Luiz, Philippe Coutinho, Lucas Digne
Aston Villa v Liverpool - Premier League / Visionhaus/GettyImages

2022/23 season - Pushing Villa into Europe

The start of the 2022/23 season saw Aston Villa as major candidates for relegation after accumulating just 9 points from their opening 11 matches. Following an embarrassing 3-0 defeat away at Fulham, which saw Luiz red carded just after the hour mark, Head Coach Gerrard was sacked and just days later Unai Emery was appointed. Despite attracting interest from other top clubs, Luiz put pen to paper on a new long term contract in October 2022.

Steven Gerrard
Fulham FC v Aston Villa - Premier League / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

Under Gerrard, Luiz was certainly struggling for form and confidence and some fans were calling for him to be sold prior to the signing of his new contract. Once Emery was appointed and Villa's change in fortunes developed, Luiz quickly showed everyone how good he could be and went on to be Aston Villa's Player's Player and Supporters' Player of the Season.

Emery had introduced a new way of playing for Villa, a fundemental tactical change that hadn't been seen by the fans at Villa Park before. Villa were now passing the ball from the back from every opportunity and Luiz was at the heart of driving the team up the pitch. He was thriving in this role.

Luiz racked up six goals and six assists in a season that saw Villa climb from 17th in the league when Gerrard left the club to 7th under Unai Emery. The 7th place finish meant Villa had qualified for a European competition for the first time since 2009. The goal Douglas Luiz scored away at Tottenham on New Year's Day was really the start of an incredible second half of the season for the club and the player himself.

Douglas Luiz
Brentford FC v Aston Villa - Premier League / Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

Other memorable moments from Luiz that season include scoring directly from a corner away at the Emirates, ultimately in defeat however. The late equaliser away to Brentford in April proved to be a massive point on the road in the hunt for Europe when Villa began to run thin on the ground with injuries.

The spectacular free kick that gave Villa a 2-0 lead in their win over European chasing rivals Spurs at Villa Park and the opening goal on the final day win against Brighton were crucial moments that will live long in the memory of the Villa fans.

Douglas Luiz
Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages
Douglas Luiz
Aston Villa v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League / Andrew Kearns - CameraSport/GettyImages

2023/24 - A historic season for Aston Villa Football Club

The season that truly put Douglas Luiz on the map as a 'world class' midfielder and 'one of the most underrated players in the Premier League' according to Paul Merson was the 2023/24 campaign. With the signing of Boubacar Kamara from Marseille the previous season, the two had the early showings of a good relationship in midfield that allowed Luiz a lot more freedom with the ball.

With Kamara being the rock in front of the back four, Luiz would be able to pick the ball up anywhere and be able to drive the team up the pitch knowing that if he made a mistake his partner would be there to clean up the mess. This partnership saw Luiz take his game to another level and his stats proved that. With 9 goals and 9 assists, Luiz became a critical piece of the Villa jigsaw that helped the club qualify for the UEFA Champions League by pipping Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United to fourth place.

Luiz was put on penalty duties by Emery and Luiz dispatched two penalties in the opening few weeks of the season against Everton and Crystal Palace. In the 4-1 win at home to West Ham, Luiz put in a five star performance that saw him claim two goals and simply out play the opposition midfield from the start. It was clear the confidence was growing and both him and the team had an outstanding first half of the season that saw Villa sit in second place after 18 games.

Douglas Luiz
Aston Villa v Crystal Palace - Premier League / Matthew Lewis/GettyImages
Douglas Luiz
Aston Villa v West Ham United - Premier League / Michael Regan/GettyImages

However, a long-term injury suffered by Kamara at the start of February saw a change in form for Luiz. Without the assurance and protection of his midfield partner Luiz had a change of role in order to try and cover the huge loss to the team and Luiz struggled to cope with the added responsibility that came his way.

The scintillating performances that Villa fans saw week after week up to January were few and far between for the remainder of the season and the penalty miss against Olympiacos in the semi-final of the UEFA Conference League seemed to spell the start of the end for Luiz.

With PSR issues apparent at the club and the need to sell players, Luiz became the number one option to be sold amongst many of the Villa fans and so his move to Juventus this summer doesn't come as a huge surprise.

Douglas Luiz
Aston Villa v Olympiacos FC: Semi-final First Leg - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/GettyImages

However, Luiz and the team did enough to ensure Villa would be playing amongst the elite in the Champions League next season for the first time in over forty years. It is worth remembering that although Luiz's form dipped in the second half of the season, the progress that he has made during his time under different managers in his five years at Villa Park (as seen in the table below) has been fantastic to see. Luiz brought a different dynamic to the Villa team and had a truly wonderful connection with the fans.





Yellow cards

Red cards

Unai Emery






Steven Gerrard






Dean Smith






Should the deal be completed as expected in the coming weeks, Villa fans will look back fondly on the memories Douglas Luiz created and will wish him well with the rest of his career. Unless of course Villa play Juventus next year!