Arsenal legend Martin Keown has slated the Gunners’ decision to offer David Luiz a new contract, suggesting to talkSPORT that Mikel Arteta is staking his reputation on this call.
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 his horror show against Manchester City in the Gunners’ return to Premier League action.
Luiz, who came on in the 24th minute for the injured Pablo Mari, failed to clear the ball just before half time, which enabled Raheem Sterling to open the scoring.
The Brazilian then conceded a penalty and was sent off for pulling Riyad Mahrez back, with Kevin De Bruyne duly slotting in for City’s second en route to a 3-0 win.
It was widely reported that Luiz had penned a two-year deal last summer, but it transpired that he’d only signed a one-year contract, and speculation on his future was rampant.
In the end, Arsenal confirmed Luiz had agreed fresh terms, keeping him at the Emirates Stadium for another season – a decision met with a mixed response to say the least.
Keown made his feelings clear about the decision, telling talkSPORT: “What I’m concerned about now is the stock of the manager. I think there’s enough favour there for Arteta as a young manager to maybe get away with this one.
“Nonetheless, I think he should be making the right decisions for the football club and I don’t believe David Luiz is the right man to be in that dressing room… I think (he) is very lucky to be back at Arsenal for another year.
“But then I worry about the manager, because you only get so long in this job and you’ve got to make the right decisions, and the early decisions have to be right. That is a huge problem, that position; Luiz has given the most penalties away this season, four, he’s not mobile enough, he goes to ground too early…
“As former players we don’t enjoy hammering players, and he’s had a fine career, but he’s only ever done it in a back-three. So unless it is that Arteta is going to change to a back-three and he’s going to play in the middle, as he did at Chelsea when he won the Premier League, Arsenal are in real trouble.”
Arteta is clearly happy with Luiz and, given he has a big job on his hands in turning Arsenal into a force once again, the veteran Brazilian’s influence in the dressing room may just be a positive over the coming season.
However, Luiz’s performances, particularly in a back four, have often left a lot to be desired, so as Keown says, Arteta has little choice but to play in a back three if he’s to select Luiz.
If any more horror shows like the Man City one take place, the Spaniard could find himself under increased pressure from the Arsenal fanbase.