On 30 June, David Luiz’s contract at Arsenal comes to an end. That’s 12 days away.
When he signed from Chelsea last summer, we agreed to him penning a one-year deal with an option to extend it for a further 12 months.
As the country went into lockdown and the financial ramifications of Covid-19 became clearer, we decided, for whatever reason, not to trigger that clause. His agent Kia Joorabchian, didn’t seem to mind, he even stated publicly that the club had bigger things to worry about.
Secretly, he may have sensed an opportunity to push for a two-year deal for his man, possibly assuming he could put his relationship with Edu and Raul to good use.
It certainly helped that Luiz had shown decent improvement under Arteta and that the boss openly praised him for his leadership in the dressing room.
And yet, here we are. No deal is done. Not on a short-term extension to the end of the season nor on anything beyond that.
The Arsenal camp seems to be weighing up where they should put what money they might have this summer and, unsurprisingly, they are nervous about Luiz. Last night’s calamitous 27-minute defensive disasterclass won’t have helped his cause.
After the game, Luiz apologised and Arteta backed his man. At this evening’s pre-Brighton press conference, the boss was again asked about the Brazilian.
First whether the 33-year-old had played his final game for the club.
“I don’t know,” said Arteta. “I told you when I was talking to you guys last night that he’s very open. He’s a man, he’s a leader and I was sure that he was going to speak in front of everybody.
“You heard what he said, he was very direct with us too. That’s what I value from him, that’s what I like from him, but we need to be fair on him.
“Me personally, I’m going to defend him with everything I have because I believe in him, he’s shown me a lot of things in his time here and his career speaks for itself.”
Asked whether Arsenal’s financial situation was making life difficult, he went on: “Well we cannot forget the financial situation, the way that COVID-19 has hit every club and the economy in general – it’s going to have an impact.
“What the club is doing at the moment is assessing the situation and trying to clarify a lot of uncertainties that we have in the future.
“We have to make big decisions but time-wise it’s difficult to fit them in our needs. We are trying our best, the club is trying its best, and it’s difficult sometimes because it puts the player or our sporting necessities in a difficult situation. We have to adapt.
“That’s what it is and that’s why I wanted to protect David yesterday. That’s why I didn’t start him. But it’s a funny game and after 20 minutes, you need him and he’s a player who has had a lot of uncertainty in the last few weeks.”
Kia Joorabchian’s decision to use the press to spin his line, certainly complicates matters. For years, Arsene Wenger refused to deal with him and now that he has his foot in the door, he seems intent on staying.
This afternoon the ‘super’ agent spoke to talkSPORT defending his client’s reputation to the hilt. He also took the opportunity to hint at Arsenal stewing over a number of difficult conversations.
This was put to Arteta. “I think for all businesses in general, a lot of clubs are going to be in a lot of positions.
“Don’t forget that we have accepted a pay cut, not only the players but the staff on board, to try to help the situation.
“I think it was an incredible gesture of unity and commitment from everybody working at the football club, that I’m very proud of. There are consequences and the people who are running the club are very responsible.
“What they don’t want to do is put the club in a difficult position. In order to do that, let’s first analyse what our finances are going to look like.
“We know that we have to improve, so let’s look at how we can improve it, and let’s see what we can do to get the club to the position it deserves.”