David Luiz could be set for an Arsenal exit just one year after arriving from Chelsea as contract stall
The Gunners paid their west London rivals £8 million ($9.8m) to sign the Brazil international last summer, with the centre-back completing his shock move across the capital on deadline day.
And despite some high profile errors, Luiz has become a constant in the heart of the Arsenal defence, both under Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta, who was appointed in December following Emery’s dismissal.
Luiz has featured in all but one of Arteta’s 15 games in charge and has often spoken in glowing terms of the Spaniard’s methods.
“Mikel is doing amazing, I am enjoying being almost 33 years old and still learning and improving and to see how beautiful football is,” Luiz told Adidas in April.
“Every day he changes something more and how a new idea and philosophy can still improve me as a person, as a player and as a leader.”
But despite his close relationship with Arteta, Luiz could soon be on the look out for a new club – with Arsenal still to begin talks over activating the clause in his contract which would see him stay at Emirates Stadium for another season.
The Gunners do have William Saliba arriving this summer following his loan spell with Saint Etienne and are also expected to sign Pablo Mari on a permanent deal from Flamengo.
Mari, a naturally left-footed centre-back, would be in direct competition with Luiz, given both prefer to play as the left-sided central defender in a back four.
However, Luiz has publicly stated he has no issues moving to accommodate the Spaniard, who arrived in January on an initial loan deal.
“I always want to play,” said the former Chelsea star. “I always play in the way the coach wants to play.
“It doesn’t matter the side, it doesn’t matter which position. You guys know I played a lot of positions during my career. I’m always ready for that.”
Luiz is one of the highest earners at Arsenal and the north London club are looking to drastically reduce their wage bill amid the increasing financial implications being caused by the coronavirus crisis.
The Gunners are predicted to lose up to £144m ($177m) if the entire 2020-21 season is played behind closed doors due to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Arsenal could begin full contact training as early as Thursday after Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to step up plans for a return to action.
Players have been training in groups of up to five since last week, but with social distancing guidelines still in place.
But during a Premier League shareholder meeting on Wednesday, clubs agreed to resume full contact training once again ahead of the league’s planned resumption next month.