Arsenal eyeing £100m Onana alternative who does “everything Rice can do”


  • Arsenal’s main necessity this winter is to find a new striker to improve their goal-scoring record.
  • Pursuing a forward player may be difficult due to high asking prices for Ivan Toney and Victor Osimhen.
  • Arsenal are also interested in bringing in a midfielder, with two Premier League stars on their radar.

Arsenal’s main necessity this winter is to bring a swanky new striker to the club as the Gunners aim to topple Manchester City in their pursuit of Premier League glory.

Their forward line has been firing blanks of late with just one goal scored in their last three matches from a combined tally of 61 shots. Yeah, it’s grim reading, isn’t it?

That said, it feels like a forward player could well be out of reach with a £100m asking price slapped on Ivan Toney and Victor Osimhen boasting a jaw-dropping £120m release clause.


If they want to improve other areas of the pitch then it could also take a mouthwatering sum of money. As such, it wouldn’t be a great surprise if Edu Gaspar and Co didn’t bring any new faces into the building this month.

Arsenal’s transfer plans

Beyond a striker, it’s reported that Arsenal want to bring in a midfielder. Everton’s Belgian star Amadou Onana has allegedly been the subject of discussions behind the scenes.

The 22-year-old has notably been a “monster” since arriving at Goodison Park – as per analyst Raj Chohan – but with FFP troubles plaguing the Merseyside club, they could be forced to sell with a £60m fee potentially in the pipeline.

Aston Villa are a club experiencing no such lows and thus, prising anyone away from the Midlands will be very challenging. Champions League football could be on the horizon for Unai Emery’s side with almost all of their star players being targeted by the elite.

Douglas Luiz is one such name with Arsenal long-standing admirers. They have failed with bids for the Brazilian in years gone by but the interest still very much remains, according to recent reports from Football Insider.


However, with a £100m asking price and interest from elsewhere, notably Liverpool, this won’t be straightforward to seal whether it be in January or the summer.

How Douglas Luiz compares to Declan Rice

When Arsenal beat Manchester City to the signing of England international Declan Rice for a fee of £105m last summer, it shocked the Premier League.

The Gunners’ previous record buy before that had been Nicolas Pepe for £72m. Therefore, this was a colossal raising of the stakes from the north Londoners.


Yet, somehow Rice has managed to make his valuation look like a bargain. He has scored late winners against Manchester United and Luton, while, quite simply, dominating midfield battles up and down the country.

He ranks within the top 2% of midfielders in the top flight for progressive passes and the top 3% for passes into the final third. This is an elite midfielder at the peak of his powers but what if the aforementioned Luiz could offer more than Rice?

We’ll take this with a pinch of salt but that was the view of former Arsenal man Jermaine Pennant who speaking to talkSPORT, once said: “I think he [Douglas Luiz] can do everything that Rice can do and better. I think he assists more, he chips in with goals more than Rice. Creativity wise he’s better, flair is better, he can put in a tackle just like Rice, break up play just like Rice.”

Bold words indeed, so let’s see how they stack up in a number of metrics throughout the 2023/24 campaign.

Declan Rice vs Douglas Luiz: 2023/24 PL season

Stat (per 90)












Pass Success



Key Passes



Progressive Passes



Shot-creating Actions



Tackles Won



Successful take-ons



Progressive Carries



Aerial duel win %



Stats via FBRef.

Well, as we can see, the midfield duo are alike in a whole variety of ways but the only area Rice really trumps Luiz in is progressive passes. We know the former West Ham man is among the best in the division in that regard but it’s clear to see based on the numbers just how impressive the Brazilian maestro is.


He’s winning a fraction more tackles per 90 minutes than Rice, making the same number of progressive carries from deep and providing more in the final third. Considering he plays slightly more advanced than Arsenal’s summer signing that is hardly a surprise, but his ability in forward phases does make him an appealing signing.

So far this term, Villa’s number 6 has found the net on seven occasions while supplying six assists. Paying £100m would be extortionate but he is a phenomenally complete midfield player and would make a fine partner for Rice.

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