Girona coach explains how Manchester City loanee Douglas Luiz can play more this season

Douglas Luiz faced disappointment this summer when his dream of playing Premier League football was crushed by the Home Office who denied him a work permit to feature for Manchester City this season.

After missing out on Jorginho to Chelsea, Pep Guardiola had planned to use the 20-year-old, a £10million-plus signing from Vasco da Gama last year, as back-up to his fellow Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho, but it wasn’t to be.

Douglas was linked with Benfica, FC Porto, Celtic, Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, but in the end returned to a more familiar setting when he joined La Liga’s Girona FC for a second season on loan.

It was an interesting move after the 20-year-old struggled for any game time last season, but a new coach at the Estadi Montilivi means there are new possibilities for Douglas, who with enough game time could earn a work permit to play in the Premier League next season.

The new coach in question at Girona is former Spain international Eusebio Sacristán, who took over in the summer after Pablo Machín took over at Sevilla. And in an exclusive interview with Mundo Deportivo, Sacristán was asked about Douglas’ arrival.

Sacristán believes he can utilise Douglas in different ways as a midfielder and admitted the youngster needed some convincing after last season.

“I think he can be adapted perfectly as a double pivot or playing alone [in midfield],” the Girona boss said.

“We had to convince him that, although he had a situation [lack of game time] last year that was unexpected, now he can find a place here for his sporting development.”

Sacristán was also asked about Girona’s relationship with Manchester City, which means he and Pep Guardiola exchange views regularly. The City Football Group own 44.3% of Girona with another 44.3% in possession of the Girona Football Group, headed by Pep’s older brother Pere Guardiola.

The Girona coach said of the relationship: “With Guardiola we share many opinions and views on all City players who come here and we understand that we can help.

“The situation is good because there is communication and their vision with our vision allows the player to be here.”

With captain Álex Granell, Pere Pons and fellow City loanee Aleix García among the available midfield options, Douglas Luiz faces another fight for game time at Girona this season, but his new coach is sure that the Manchester City talent can play a bigger part this time.

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