Arsenal defender David Luiz has lifted the lid on his difficult first week after leaving Chelsea, during which “every text message” he received urged him to come back.
The Brazil international joined the Gunners last summer for a reported £8million fee (BBC Sport), calling time on his second stint at Stamford Bridge.
Luiz’s switch across London came as a surprise, given the rivalry between the two clubs.
However, the 32-year-old told Otro that he decided to leave Chelsea even before agreeing on a move to Arsenal.
Luiz had won the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup at Chelsea and said staff at Stamford Bridge wanted him to stay.
Even though he found it difficult in the first week or so, he was determined to begin a new challenge in North London and said joining Arsenal was a “top decision”.
“I decided to leave Chelsea before to talk with Arsenal,” said Luiz. “So, I decided to leave Chelsea to move on for another moment in my career.
“Then two days after, I had the opportunity to talk with Arsenal. And Arsenal say ‘let’s do it’ and of course because I want to stay in the Premier League. I want to try big things in my life. It’s another big club and let’s do it.
“I can be honest with you, the first three days or first week was not easy. All the kind of emotions were kind of how I was feeling.
“Everybody knows my history in Chelsea. This connection with everyone at the club was so massive. I was missing every single one. Every text message I was receiving people were saying, ‘come back, come back, we are here for you’.”
Luiz admits he has never been one to stay in the comfort zone, so it makes sense that, after winning the biggest trophies in English and European football, he sought a new challenge.
Indeed, it has been a challenge at Arsenal this season, with a chance of management and the club sitting eight points adrift of fourth place in the Premier League table and out of Europe.
Nonetheless, once football resumes, Luiz – on a £125,000-a-week contract until the summer of 2021 – will have one more season at least to try and get Mikel Arteta’s side back to the upper echelons of English and European football, a challenge he’s sure to relish.