Mark Schwarzer has come out to defend Arsenal’s decision to sign David Luiz down to a new contract.
The Brazilian joined the club on a one-year deal last summer from Chelsea, and there was much speculation about whether our side would be willing to extend his stay after his horrifying display against Manchester City a week ago.
Luiz had an evening to forget, coming on as a first-half substitute for the injured Pablo Mari only to be at fault for the opening goal. Then shortly after half-time he goes and gets himself sent off whilst giving away a penalty, all-but decided the result of the match.
This performance led for mass calls for him to be released at the end of his contract in six days, but the club made the decision to keep him for another season.
His former team-mate at Chelsea Schwarzer has moved to break the mould and defend the decision, citing his character as a huge boost for the team.
“He’s a great guy to have around the group,” Schwarzer told Sky Sports the Football show (Via the Express).
“He’s actually a really likeable person, he’s got a great sense of humour, he’s great for team morale, when things are going really well he’s brilliant.
“Am I surprised he’s been offered a new deal? They’re obviously not basing it off the last performance. There’s no doubt about that, they’ve been in discussions with him for a while. I think it was an activation of an extension of the contract.
“Listen, he’s got some really good qualities. I know he’s made some high-profile errors that have led to goals and been costly for Arsenal but when you get him right and he’s mentally on song he can be a very valuable asset to the team.”
Schwarzer added: “He’s a likeable character within the group. I don’t know many people who didn’t get on with him or didn’t like him.
“He’s always bubbly [but] there’s no doubt he would have been down after the game against Man City. He wears his heart on his sleeve so that would have affected him.
“I know that within the group he’s generally very well liked and considered an important member of the squad in terms of morale.”
Before the Coronavirus pandemic, I feel like very few would have been in a rush to offload Luiz as he had been key in our resurgence, and while his performance last week is stuck in our minds, he may well prove his worth to the team over the next 12 months.
I know it has been a long week with Luiz under the bus, but apart from his last red card against Chelsea, has he really been that bad under Arteta?