Mikel Arteta says he’s not held formal discussions with David Luiz about a contract extension but it sounds like he’s open to the idea of keeping the Brazilian past this summer.
The 33-year-old’s current 12-month deal is due to expire at the end of June and the veteran is being tipped to stick around for another season while a rebuild of the defence takes place around him.
While it’s no secret that the veteran defender’s performances have been erratic since he joined from Chelsea in 2019, his leadership qualities are valued by the coaching staff.
Having severed ties with Sokratis and given up on contract talks with Shkodran Mustafi, retaining Luiz is an option while the futures of Calum Chambers, Dinos Mavropanos and William Saliba remain undecided.
Asked whether a new deal was already on the table, Arteta said: “No, there are still a few months to go on that. I all the time talk to him about this kind of thing so we’re in a good position.
“He showed his character first of all with the decision he made to join the club when he was with a club where he was winning trophies and he was still comfortable and under contract.
“And he wanted a challenge. And at that age it tells your everything because normally at that age the challenge is not sporting but more a financial decision that you take to go to a different country.
“But David loves this game so much and he wants to keep playing at the highest level in a very competitive league. This is the challenge that he’s enjoying at the moment.”
On Saturday, Luiz produced a man-of-the-match display alongside Rob Holding as Arsenal drew 0-0 with Manchester United to secure a fifth clean sheet in six games. The subsequent praise from the boss was wholesome.
“It’s credit to him because he trains really hard,” Arteta said.
“This season has been really tough in the beginning because he’s been through some injuries but he’s kept at it, he understood his role, he knows his role in the team, he’s one of our leaders and he’s so willing to keep improving.
“He knows the things that he’s really good at and the things where there is still room for improvement. He’s a really honest man with himself. He’s won everything and it’s a joy to work with him.
“He’s a great example for them (the youngsters). He’s got a good mixture with them between some banter and then some stick.
“They all listen to him because of who he is and what he’s done in the game. But also because how he behaves every day, how professional he is and how he goes about the job. He is one of the key role models that we have in our team.”