If you are infirmed, injured, due for retirement, or well past your best, North London appears to be the place to extend the career you never thought you had left. News that Arsenal’s new favourite liability, former Chelsea midfielder David Luiz has been given another year on his contract reported to be worth £80,000 per week is mystifying, to say the least.
Many fans had doubts about the wisdom of his last-minute trolley dash transfer for £8m in 2019. It was a move that was supposed to add experience and stability to the side, but Luiz has had a negative impact on the pitch, especially in the last two games.
The supporters’ comments on social media haven’t been exactly glowing. “Past it.” “A liability” and “The worst purchase in years” are just some of the conclusions formed by baffled followers.
Arsenal is becoming an easy touch, it’s like an MLS club that gives money to ageing footballers because of their status as a one-time high profile player. It’s more evidence of waste by a club regularly pleading poverty as the transfer window approaches.
Reports have surfaced that so far, the contract of former Chelsea defender David Luiz has cost somewhere in the region of £24m in agent fees and salary. That’s a major concern. £24m is a sizeable payment for the type of players that the club needs such as Dayot Upamecano for RB Leipzig or a Thomas Partey from Atletico Madric. It’s also hard to see where Luiz and his new contract fits in, with Pablo Mari already secured permanently and William Saliba due to take up residency in the centre-back role after completing his role at St Etienne.
Luiz is far too slow when put in reverse and his haphazard defending has cost Arsenal dearly over this campaign. If this was supposed to be a move to increase Arsenal’s chances of qualification to the Champions League, it has been an unmitigated disaster and Chelsea couldn’t have played this one better.
As supporters, we have been teased with Arsenal almost declining the option to extend the Brazilian’s stay. Then Luiz confirmed his intentions to play for Benfica, but they openly admitted that they couldn’t afford him. The defender then did a u-turn from his Benfica sentiments and wanted a two-year extension which looked 99.9% unlikely, as his feet impersonated two wet fishes against Brentford and Manchester City.
So imagine the expression on the face of an Arsenal fan upon hearing that David Luiz had secured another year with a new contract at considerable expense. The move indicates that Arsenal have very little intention to bolster the squad substantially and the permanent signings of Mari and Soares could be potentially as good as it gets. If that is the case, no one would blame Arteta if he walked away from a job that could seriously damage his reputation as a budding manager or shoot away his career even before it began.