We’re going to do it, aren’t we? We’re not going to learn our lesson and we’re going to do it again, right?
I am of course, talking about the supposed rumours I’ve heard about David Luiz getting a new deal. The noises are getting louder and louder and the conjecture from Arsenal fans based on media noises is that the Brazilian will get another deal in the summer to keep him around for one more year.
It is the wrong thing to do.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not as much of a David Luiz hater as so many Arsenal fans are. I acknowledge the mistakes he makes and the frequency of them over a course of a season. I know he will have moments that make us wonder just how somebody as experienced and technical with his ability can just completely switch off even at his age. But he is one of our best defenders most of the time, he is clearly a character and a leader in our dressing room, a lot of the players look up to him and if he were to leave in the summer there would be a personality gap in the squad that needs to be filled. He’s also got a good distribution and when it comes to big game mentality he has it seven or eight games out of 10 and usually puts on a good display.
But we surely aren’t going to fall in to the trap of giving him another year, are we? Are we REALLY going to make the same mistakes we’ve made before?
Yesterday I spoke about how Arteta needs to use this summer to demonstrate that he is ruthless, that he acknowledges that some of these players just aren’t really good enough, that we have a lot of work to do and that goes for incomings as well as outgoings. One of those outgoings I have in my head is 100% David Luiz. His exit this summer should be a “thank you very much, you’ve been amazing in mentoring some of the kids, we’re pleased to have had you around, but it is time to move on. Go get your Benfica move” in June. It is the right time for him and us to part ways. In about a month’s time he turns 34. He will not improve as a player, only decline, so the justification on that front for another year isn’t there. His wages – depending on who you read about – are £100k to £120k per week – which for an ageing centre half is too much. They are especially too much if you are telling David Luiz to be a fourth or fifth choice centre half for next season.
Because that’s what he should be. We should be looking forward and on improve our already improved defence and that needs to be with younger legs. We have Saliba coming back, Mavropanos has starred in Germany, we have Holding, Chambers, Gabriel and Mari who have all played well at different times in the season. We don’t NEED David Luiz next season. We NEED to move on from that and give other players the chance to step up. I’d even say we probably need to offload one of the centre halves listed in that group AS WELL AS David Luiz, to keep the compsition of the squad right and the balance as it should be.
Holding has signed a new deal. Gabriel is in his first season. Saliba is supposedly one Arsenal have high hopes for. Mari has shown he is an able deputy at left centre back. Luiz has been shifted to right centre back and for me that should be a position we look at for Holding/Saliba and maybe even Mavropanos or Chambers to fight for. We have cover and I think we have players who will make less mistakes than David Luiz next season. Because that will only increase as he gets older, his timing is not as good and his pace slowly fades.
Getting David Luiz for another year is the wrong play any way you look at it.
If it happened it would also be the first really worrying sign that we have of Arteta and his over-reliance on some of thoise older pro’s. They were the ones that let him down in the barren run earlier in the season and it is only now that the young kids dragged us out of the mire than the older pro’s are coming along for the ride and showing form. That’s not how it should work. That isn’t how it should play out. Those experienced players are the one’s who have their longer term cards marked and if Arteta rewards somebody like Luiz with an additional year then I’m afraid it is a black mark on the manager.
And he doesn’t need any black marks. Not now. I’ve spoken to many Arsenal fans who still have plenty of good will for him. But the instance on playing Willian really dented that and faith in some of those older pro’s just doesn’t cut it for me I’m afraid. We’ve talked about how Arteta is a young coach learning his trade and I’m all fine with that. We speak amongst us Arsenal fans about how some of the subs don’t work, or he puts them on too late, etc. It’s all part of the learning process and I accept it. But come the summer that’s over 18 months in charge of Arsenal and there are some learnings that should be embedded by now. Giving big bumper deals to ageing pro’s who are on the decline is one of those learnings that I don’t think I’ll be able to just chalk up to his inexperience as a manager.
My worry as well is that with Edu there’s another Brazilian who would love to have his mate around for another year. Edu has close links to Kia too and whilst Kia probably wouldn’t have a problem with picking up some money for a signing on fee with Luiz, I suspect he’d probably prefer the high profile nature of having a client in the Premier League for another season in Luiz at the Arsenal.
I hope all of this is just rumour and conjecture only, that we are giving David Luiz a virtual send off in May and that we can move on from him from the summer.