Arsenal defender David Luiz, who was sent off against Manchester City last week, has signed a one-year contract extension, the Premier League club announced yesterday.
The Gunners added that defenders Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares would also be staying beyond this season on permanent contracts after loan deals from Flamengo and Southampton respectively.
Midfielder Dani Ceballos has extended his loan from Real Madrid to the end of the campaign.
“I am really happy that we will have these players in our squad for the future,” said Arsenal’s technical director Edu. “They have been part of the long-term technical plan (manager) Mikel (Arteta) and I have developed.
“They bring the right balance to our squad.”
Edu said his Brazilian compatriot Luiz was a key player for the north London club even though the 33-year-old – among the club’s highest earners – has been under fire following a number of high-profile errors. you
“He has played most of our matches this season and has been important for the team. His passing, his communication with the team on and off the pitch.
“He helps everyone,” he said.
Luiz’s contract would otherwise have run out at the end of the month. Spanish centre-back Mari, who was injured against Manchester City, and Portugal right-back Soares will complete their formal moves once the transfer window opens next month.
The deals have largely been viewed as an act of desperation by Arsenal amid a lack of alternatives.
Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol suggested Arteta should utilise Luiz as a midfielder so the Brazilian becomes less of a liability.
A manager who has the team into pressing mode, they’re really aggressive, really good on the counter-press, really good on the transition… A very dangerous team.
MIKEL ARTETA, Arsenal manager, on their next opponents Southampton, managed by German Ralph Hasenhuttl.
“I think Arteta’s looking around the squad and figuring, ‘If I let this guy go, I’ve got even less than nothing’,” Nicol told ESPN FC.
“David Luiz’s career as a centre-back in my opinion is, and should be, over. He’s got to the stage now that whatever team he plays for, if he’s your centre-back, the whole crowd are holding their breath every time he goes to make a challenge or interception… So… get him in the middle of the park.”
Luiz is suspended for Arsenal’s trip to Southampton today.
Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli will also be unavailable after he was ruled out for the rest of the season. But goalkeeper Bernd Leno’s knee injury is not as bad as first feared and he is set to return to train in four to six weeks.
Arteta is expecting to face a German-style side due to the aggressive, pressing game implemented by Southampton coach Ralph Hasenhuttl.
“They’re a very German side,” the Spaniard told a news conference. “A manager who has the team into pressing mode, they’re really aggressive, really good on the counter-press, really good on the transition… A very dangerous team.”