Luiz Deserves A New Contract! By Dan Smith
I read an article on JustArsenal the other day which gave reasons why Arsenal shouldn’t offer David Luiz a contract extension. So I thought I would give an alternative point of view, and give my opinion of why I would grant the Brazilian another year at the club, especially if it sees him transition into a coach.
Last July I was as shocked as many when it was announced the defender had signed a new deal, just days after a nightmare individual performance at the Etihad.
My assumption was (still is) that it was another example of the club taking a cheap option with it being believed that the player agreed to a pay cut.
Apart from being very popular in the dressing room it is hard to say Luiz justified staying in North London.
In one season at Arsenal he had conceded more penalties and red cards then he did in 6 at Chelsea. He was part of a defence which led us to our worst League finish in 25 years, so apart from making people laugh in training, his 8 million transfer hadn’t worked out. Replacing Koscielny, he had made our back 4 or 5 poorer not better.
Like many subjects, I am open to someone proving me wrong and I’m happy to say that’s what the 33-year-old has done. His reaction to his errors at Man City was admirable. He faced the cameras straight after and took responsibility.
From that point onwards he played like a man hurt. Hurt by his own individual form but also embarrassed by how far his new employers had fallen.
While his legacy will always be at Stamford Bridge, he won the respect of a lot of gooners by the kind words he said about the Gunners. He changed the perception of Arsenal being a comfortable club to play for once you’re past your best (well paid, living in London) and instead clearly saw this as a project.
You could argue his two best performances in his Arsenal career were in what should have been his two hardest tests, the Semi Final and Final of The FA Cup.
August was his 10th winners medal in English Football. As well as a Champions League and two Europa Leagues he’s won every domestic trophy possible in three countries.
That contradicts the perception that he’s somehow mentally flawed. That’s a perception based on the fact that he has, and always will be, prone to a random mistake all of a sudden.
That’s more due though to his eagerness to be involved and play. Hence why many have said he should have been a full time DM, as you never sense he loves the art of defending more than simply loving the sport.
Look back at his reaction to lifting the FA Cup with us. While his teammates were dancing round the pitch, he went up to each and every member of the opposition and shook their hands. Yes of course these were his former co-workers.
It was also though against a manager who had frozen him out, now playing for a team where he had been equally written off. Many would have reacted differently, but Luiz showed class, humility, respect.
I believe it’s those moments, that might not mean a lot on the surface, which are the reasons why Arteta would want his player to long term become part of his staff.
It’s a change of policy from the club. Arsene Wenger was often criticised for taking too long to trust former players to come back and work with him. Our current manager though wants to teach from within, in the same way Man United have done with the likes of Carrick, Giggs, Phil Neville, etc
That’s not to say anyone is giving up on him as a player. He’s been just as good as any of our other defenders this season.
Many of our fanbase are desperate for us to return to our previous levels that they are very positive towards Gabriel because he’s a new signing, but I can name Luiz having just as many good games. Think back to how Luiz played only a few weeks ago against United.
He and Rob Holding have been our best partnership
So Luiz shouldn’t see Arsenal’s insistence of a player/coach role as any kind of demotion. I think it’s a compliment. It’s his boss thinking ahead of time and saying he doesn’t want to lose certain qualities when retirement happens.
Our younger players look up to him, and he’s one of the few winners we have in the dressing room. Imagine the week of a big game and having the benefit of having the personality of David Luiz around on the training pitch, someone who can empathise.
Our whole season is on the line against Benfica. In a squad where I often question the mentality, I’m comforted by the fact we have a leader in Luiz.
It’s the West Brom-type games where I worry about Luiz’s errors as those are the moments his concentration switches off. The bigger the stakes and pressure (obviously a certain Brazil game not counting) the better he seems to perform.
I assume Arsenal wouldn’t have raised the subject of coaching unless Luiz at some point had mentioned it was an ambition.
He might have a desire to carry on playing for years, but as someone who has won everything, he does soon need to think of life post playing.
When you think of a Lampard and Rooney learning their ropes in the Championship or Gerrard having to go to Scotland for his apprenticeship, Arsenal are actually offering Luiz a chance to start at the top. Ironically in the same way Guardiola taught a rookie Arteta. Arteta wants to do the same for Luiz.
So who knows, one day David Luiz (the future manager) could look back as accepting this contract as a huge moment.
In conclusion, in terms of improving our defence to challenge for a title or even top 4, David Luiz a year older isn’t going to make things any better, that’s obvious. If you try the same things you get the same results. Yet if your transfer policy doesn’t involve buying a world class centre back (and it doesn’t) then this squad would be weaker without Luiz.
If the ambition is to constantly find value, then Luiz is a no brainer.
I’m excited to see David Luiz the coach.
See, I’m a fair person who will give someone a second chance and if they prove me wrong, I will say it.
Would you offer David Luiz a new Contract?
Be Kind In The Comments
— Just Arsenal News (@JustArsenal) February 17, 2021