What Pep Guardiola told Dean Smith when Aston Villa signed Douglas Luiz
Luiz joined City from Vasco da Gama back in 2016 but failed to break into the first-team despite showing promising signs with work permit issues holding back his development.
After two successful loan spells with Girona in Spain, he was targeted by Villa who had just won promotion to the Premier League via the playoffs.
Smith has now revealed what the Spaniard told him after Luiz completed his move from the Citizens.
“He’s Pep’s loss and my gain. I met Pep at the League Managers’ meeting and he spoke to me then, he was very disappointed they couldn’t get that work permit,” he told BirminghamLive.
“Pep said, ‘You’ve got a really good lad there’. There is no better endorsement for the boy.”
Luiz made an instant impact on his first start against Bournemouth, curling home a sumptuous drive from well outside the area following a corner.
Guardiola has previously expressed his frustrations at the work permit system which prevented the Brazilian from having the chance to stake his claim for a starting berth at City.
“It’s difficult for me to understand,” he said, “For one guy who doesn’t see the player and is not every day in the training session he has to judge.
“[Douglas] has ability, quality to play and we decide he can play. I accept the rules but I don’t understand, anyone in the world can work where he wants. The national manager for Brazil [Tite] and myself we know more than the guys who decide he is not able to play.”