Arsenal defender David Luiz can help shape the club’s future, according to BBC Sport pundit Karen Carney.
However, the former Arsenal and England winger has issued a warning to Gunners boss Mikel Arteta in terms of managing the 33-year-old properly, or he could risk becoming “disgruntled”.
Luiz was an £8million signing from Chelsea last August, replacing then Arsenal club captain Laurent Koscielny, who joined Bordeaux the previous day.
Some of the Brazilian’s performances have come under major scrutiny, none more so than against Manchester City in the Gunners’ return to Premier League action.
However, Luiz has been impressive following his return from suspension and a switch to a back three, during which time he has signed fresh terms with the Emirates Stadium side.
Technical director Edu said after Luiz extended his contract: “David is a really important player for us.
“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.”
Ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Leicester, Carney wrote on BBC Sport: “David Luiz may not be the future of Arsenal but he can help shape it, and that’s why I think he was offered a new contract.
“This squad is young and very inexperienced, and the fact there was such a long debate over who should be captain, shows there is a lack of leadership within the team.
“I’m not saying Luiz, who is 33 now, is going to play every game, but he has experience and has been around success. He can have a positive impact within the dressing room and can help the younger players coming through.
“But Mikel Arteta needs to make sure he manages Luiz properly. You have to look after senior players. When they become disgruntled, that becomes a challenge. They need to have had a conversation about the plans for the future.
“As a senior player you can either react with fight or flight when you’re having these discussions. You either accept the plan or want to play constantly and be disruptive, which will just be miserable for everybody.”
While some of Luiz’s performances have left a lot to be desired this term, he does do well in a back three, and since Arsenal have begun playing 3-4-3, their performances and results have improved.
Support for Luiz in the Arsenal camp is high – as well as Arteta praising his player on numerous occasions, it was also notable that Bukayo Saka cited the 6ft 1in defender’s support as a key factor in his recent development when he signed his new contract.