Why Arsenal should consider a new deal for David Luiz
According to The Irish Independent, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has hinted at a new contract for veteran centre-back David Luiz. The Brazilian put pen to paper on a one-year extension this past summer but his current deal at the Emirates is due to expire at the end of the campaign.
Arteta has heaped praises on the 33-year-old, hailing him as a role model for the other players in his squad. While there have been no formal discussions over a new contract, the manager remains confident of retaining the Brazilian beyond next summer. (h/t Irish Independent)
Luiz’s role at Arsenal
Luiz quickly established himself as a key cog in Arsenal’s backline under former manager Unai Emery after moving across the capital from Chelsea. He started 32 times in the Premier League during the 2019-20 season while also featuring prominently in the club’s triumphant FA Cup campaign. (h/t Transfermarkt)
The veteran had somewhat slipped down the pecking order in North London this term. Summer signing Gabriel Magalhaes had nailed down a regular starting role alongside Rob Holding at the heart of the Gunners’ backline. As a result, Luiz has been limited to just 10 starts in the Premier League so far, although he has become a regular in recent games again.
Having said that, the Brazilian is still a key squad player at the club and hasn’t failed to deliver whenever called into action by Arteta. Most recently, Luiz was a standout performer in Arsenal’s goalless draw against Man United in the Premier League, putting in a colossal display at the back.
Luiz still has something to offer
It’s true that David Luiz has had his fair share of blemishes as a defender throughout his career. But the Brazilian has a knack of producing his best when it matters the most, with his performance against Man United a timely reminder of his abilities. Luiz is set to turn 34 in April but looks far from a spent force at the highest level.
Luiz might no longer be a regular starter for Arsenal week in, week out, but he looks more than capable of contributing as a squad player at the back. The former Chelsea and PSG star has won everything over the course of his illustrious career. The Gunners should, therefore, look at him as someone who could transmit that winning mentality to the rest of the squad.
The 33-year-old also offers a lot with his leadership skills and experience. With young defenders like William Saliba trying to break into the first-team picture, Luiz’s charisma on and off the pitch would surely have a positive influence on the Frenchman’s development.
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Arsenal have already parted ways with Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi. So it would make sense for Arsenal to retain at least one experienced centre-back in the form of Luiz. That would go a long way towards ensuring the right kind of depth and balance in their squad.