Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz has only made one La Liga start for Girona FC since joining on a season-long loan from Manchester City in the summer, but his performances are not going unnoticed.
The 19-year-old has five appearances in total for the Catalan club, four of them off the bench, but was recently given a full 90 minutes against Barcelona and left a good impression.
Douglas, who joined Man City from Vasco da Gama for a reported £10.7million in the summer, is being eased into European football by Girona boss Pablo Machín, but according to reports from his homeland he could be fast-tracked to bigger things in the near future.
It is reported by UOL in Brazil that City’s technical committee have been impressed by what they have seen so far from the youngster. He is viewed as a long-term project, having signed a five-year contract, but his physical presence for one so young, combined with his aggressiveness with and without the ball, have City taking notice.
Douglas Luiz is not just a physical player either. His ability to read and react to the game, his actions as soon as he receives the ball, and how he responds to losing possession are also impressing those tasked with keeping an eye on the many players dispatched on loan from the Etihad Stadium.
And if Douglas maintains his level of performances in Catalonia, he may be integrated into next summer’s pre-season plans and given a chance to stake a claim in the first-team squad for the 2018-19 season. Pep Guardiola gave Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz similar opportunities last summer and the two are now in and around the first-team squad.
Pep Guardiola is not the only one keeping an eye on Douglas Luiz. According to UOL, Brazil coach Tite rates the teenager highly, along with Richarlison of Watford and Arthur of Grêmio. And the door is not closed to those three sneaking their way into Brazil’s World Cup 2018 squad.
That may be one step too far this year for Douglas Luiz, who is currently a Brazil under-20 international, but it is clear he is a high-level prospect and Manchester City did not shell out £10million-plus just to sell him on for profit – he is one they have serious plans for if he continues his impressive development.