Arsenal are reportedly set to trigger a one-year extension in David Luiz’s contract to keep him at The Emirates until the summer of 2021 – but could such a move hamper Arsenal’s chances of completing a previously agreed £8million deal?
The Sun claim Arsenal are to hand 32-year-old Luiz another 12 months in north London, activating a one-year extension clause which was included in his £125,000-a-week (Mirror) contract when he initially signed with the club.
Luiz has been hit and miss among supporters since his move from Chelsea. The Brazil international has clocked up 32 appearances in all competitions since his move from the Blues to The Emirates, but has come under some criticism.
He is not alone. Indeed, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi have also come under criticism, but since Mikel Arteta’s arrival, the defence has improved. The report claims Arteta has been impressed with Luiz, and is set to keep him at the club.
It means Arsenal will have Luiz, as well as Mustafi, Sokratis and Calum Chambers on the books, while Konstantinos Mavropanos and William Saliba are due to return this summer from loan spells at FC Nurnburg and St. Etienne.
Six central defenders, then. Even if the club look to offload Mustafi, Arteta has too many options at centre-back. A permanent deal for on-loan Spaniard Pablo Mari, then, is far more unlikely if the extension in Luiz’s contract is agreed.
Sky Sports claim Arsenal paid £4million to land Mari on loan until the end of the season from Brazilian side Flamengo, and have the option of making Mari’s loan deal a permanent one in the summer – if they pay another £8million.
Mari, 26, has managed just two senior appearances for Arsenal since that move, breaking into the side for Arsenal’s last Premier League game – a 1-0 win over West Ham – and a 2-0 win over Portsmouth in The FA Cup.
With Luiz’s extended stay at The Emirates meaning Arsenal will have six senior centre-backs on the books in the summer, a permanent deal for Mari looks unlikely – especially given his lack of game time.