Mikel Arteta has told David Luiz to focus on football rather than worry about his contract situation as he enters the final six months of his current Arsenal deal.
The 33-year-old has had a mixed spell with the Gunners following his move from Stamford Bridge and is far from a guaranteed starter nowadays, with Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holding and Pablo Mari all potentially ahead of him in the pecking order.
But the experienced Brazil international is still an invaluable member of the squad, as he showed with a fine performance alongside Mari in the FA Cup win against Newcastle last weekend.
So Arteta has not ruled out handing him a new deal, but says everyone’s focus right now should be on football.
“We will see what happens,” said the Arsenal boss. “There are a lot of things happening around the club, a lot of decisions to make. I don’t want to rush any decisions.
“I just want players to be focused. They know that they have six months left or eight months left, whatever it is, some of them a year. They know that.
Their contracts are like that, we cannot change that. We cannot change all the contracts right now. I think it is time to be focused.
“We have been through a difficult period in the last few weeks and I just want people to focus on football. If you do what you have to do on the football pitch, you will deserve the chance to keep with us if this is what you want.”
Luiz’s appearance against Newcastle last weekend was the first time he had featured in a match since Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat at Everton on December 2019.
The centre-back had been sidelined through illness, the latest in a series of enforced absences he has had to endure since the start of the campaign.
“David had a really difficult season because he had three different things that have kept him away from training and games, which is unusual for him because normally he is always available,” said Arteta.
“He had to play the other day after a two, two-and-a-half week period out – and he had to play 120 minutes.
“I think he was exceptional. Just the way he handled the game against a difficult No.9 like Andy Carroll and to play for 120 minutes as well at his age, without much training, was a real test and I really liked what he did.”
Arteta added: “David is fantastic. He is one of the leaders in the dressing room.
“He is one of the most experienced players, he has won everything in the game. He is so good with the young kids.
Source : goal.com