Tag Archives: david luiz

David Luiz and Willian audition for Brazilian Eastenders

Well what a busy start to the week we have had over at The Arsenal.

On Monday, the news broke fairly late in the day that the deal taking Henrik Mihitaryan to Roma was finally confirmed.

This got us thinking about COVID19 clauses in contracts and if it was a part of the agreement between Arsenal and Lille that Gabriel would have to undergo testing and quarantine prior to the transfer being completed.

On Tuesday our suspicions were confirmed as Arsenal announced the signing of Gabriel on a cute little Zoom call alongside David Luiz and Willian. This was a day after Gabriel had been at the training ground to join the squad in the bi-weekly club COVID19 test.

The announcement was quite a novel way to announce a player.

A live call between David Luiz and Willian on YouTube. They had a little chat about Willian, and then went on to discussing Gabriel. A decision was then made to call him and there he was, in his Arsenal training gear.

Luiz and Willian certainly have a post playing career in Brazilian EastEnders, playing hairy, South American Mitchell brothers.

And I guess that would make Gabriel Billy Mitchell?

On the video call, David Luiz’s importance to Mikel Arteta came across.

He is now in the role of “Father of the Squad” as one of the oldest and most experienced. It will be his job to help the young players such as Gabriel and William Saliba settle. It is a role he seems to have fitted into nicely.

Prior to the Gabriel announcement was the news that Ken Friar is to step down from the board to become Arsenal’s Life President.

Ken Friar is a lifelong Arsenal employee, whose story is immortalised on the North Bridge:

One day in 1945, a young Ken Friar was playing football with friends in front of Arsenal Football Club’s Highbury Stadium.

A miskick saw the ball disappear underneath a parked car. As Ken Friar hesitantly went to retrieve the ball, the car’s owner appeared from the famous Highbury marble halls, it was none other than the manager of Arsenal, George Allison.

Allison was impressed with young Friar’s enthusiasm and told him to make himself useful by reporting to his office the next day, whereupon the 12 year-old was offered a job as a messenger at the stadium on matchdays.

From that day on, Mr Friar became a loyal servant to Arsenal Football Club.

in 1950, Mr Friar started working full-time in the matchday ticket office. Through years of hard work and dedication, he was the club Secretary, Managing Director, and also a leader in Arsenal’s move from Highbury to the new stadium.

At the forefront in driving Arsenal Football Club to success for over 60 years.

For that lifetime of dedication, we thank you Mr Friar.

It was sad to see some “fans” abusing Mr Friar in the Tweet announcing his retirement. So called Arsenal fans have also taken to abuse the clubs social media manager for the Gabriel announcement being “delayed”. in the past we have also seen “fans” abuse club photographers, club legends and more recently, the daughter of Geordie Armstrong.

These people are not fans. They are hangers on. They are something nasty you step in occasionally. For some reason they associate themselves with Arsenal and their behaviour is disgusting.

The majority of these fans seem to be Tweeting from abroad. None of them have ever been to a game.

All true Arsenal fans will know and thank Ken Friar OBE for his work for the club over the last 75 years. They will understand those working for the club are just employees and do not deserve abuse. It is vile, and these people need to look at themselves.

Following the Gabriel announcement came some news about an outgoing. Not Sokratis to Napoli but Hector Bellerin to PSG.

It was interesting to watch it unfold on Twitter.

One Journalist broke the news, and then the likes of David Ornstein and Fabrizio Romano jumped on it as if they were breaking it, to keep up the pretence that they actually know what is happening at The Arsenal.

I will probably dedicate more time to discussing Bellerin later in the week.

He has been a fantastic servant to the club for nearly 10 years, and worn the shirt with honour and dignity. If he and the club decide it is time for Bellerin to start a new journey, then so be it.

Enjoy your Thursday.

Keenos

David Luiz falls victim to Covid19

News broke yesterday that David Luiz was unlikely to extend his time at Arsenal by longer than one season.

When the Brazilian made the surprising move from West to North London last summer, the news was that he signed a 2 year deal. It transpires that it was a 1 year deal with Arsenal having an option to extend for a second year.

Having started 25 out of 28 Premier League games, Luiz has been a key player under both Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta. It is therefore surprising to most that Arsenal seem to be happy to let him go.

The truth is he has become a victim of Covid19 and the impact it will have on the transfer market.

With football likely to be played behind closed doors for at least some of next season, clubs across Europe have lost the season ticket revenue that usually hits the accounts at the beginning of June.

To Arsenal, that season ticket revenue is around £75million – with total match day revenue £100million. That is a huge chunk of cash that Arsenal, and other clubs, will miss out on.

Lack of season ticket money will have a huge impact on what clubs can spend this summer; and also limits the money they have available to pay in wages on new players.

Teams across Europe are not going to be able to spend the £100s of millions they have been in recent summers – and gone are the days when mid table teams like West Ham, Crystal Palace, Everton, etc are offering players £100k a week or more.

If teams do not have the money to buy players, or match wages, it also means clubs will be unable to sell unwanted players. And that is the situation Arsenal find themselves in.

Arsenal currently have 8 “senior” central defenders: David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers. Kostadinos Mavropanos and William Saliba are currently out on loan, with Pablo Mari at the club on loan.

You do not need 8 central defenders, at most you need 5.

Arsenal need to cut numbers.

It has nothing to do with money and everything to do with having too many central defenders.

Of the 8 defenders at the club, at least 3 will need to leave. If we were to sign a new defender, 4 would be out the door.

The first one out will be Pablo Mari; although he would also be first in line if we were to sign someone.

Arsenal would probably prefer to keep David Luiz ahead of Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi; but Covid19 will make those two very hard to sell.

Both players are on around £90,000 a week. With limited finances across Europe; it is not foreseeable that other clubs will be able to pick up the tab and offer players parity in wages – even if Arsenal wavered any transfer fee.

The likelihood is that Mustafi and Sokratis will see out the last year of their contracts.

If Mustsfi and Sokratis remain, alongside Saliba, that is 3 of the 5 central defenders we need next season. That leaves Mavropanos, Holding, Chambers and Luiz.

Mavropanos moved to Bundesliga 2 side Nürnberg in January. At this time of his career, spending an entire season on loan would be ideal next season.

Holding and Chambers both have the advantage of being home grown, and are on less money combined that David Luiz.

That leaves Arsenal with the tough decision to let David Luiz leave.

With the Brazilian out of contract, and Arsenal needing to cut numbers, he becomes an easy option to let go.

Luiz leaving and Mavropanos loaned out brings Arsenal down to 5 central defenders. Were Arsenal to then bring in someone (Mari or someone else), another would have to leave. Rob Holding most likely.

David Luiz is certainly not the defender Arsenal want to leave; but Covid19 has changed the situation.

Keenos

How have Arsenal ended up on the verge of signing David Luiz?

There will be a room somewhere in London Colney. It has a door that always remains locked. The only people to enter that room are Arsenal’s senior management. Raul Sanllehi, Edu, Unai Emery. Sometimes you might get a senior scout in their. The likes of Francis Caggigo.

It is the war room, where the transfer decisions are made.

In the room will be white boards filled with players names. They will cover all positions and be a range of players, from young prospects like William Saliba and Gabrielle Martinelli, through established stars such as Nicolas Pepe and Kieran Tierney to senior pros such as David Luiz.

Names on the board will be in excess of 100, covering every eventuality and “what if?” scenario.

On a side note, this is why a lot of transfer speculation is often not BS. Many of the players we are linked with we do have an interest in. We are scouting. Their name is on the board in the war room. What the media often exaggerate is just how interested we are in the player, just how close we are to signing them.

For example: What if Arsenal get down to the last day of the transfer window and need to sign a cheap, experience central defender. There will be a list of candidates on that board who fit that criteria. And one of those names would have been David Luiz.

There would have been 3 different lists of central defenders. All containing around 10 players. They would be listed in preference order and regardless of availability.

You would have had your young, up and coming defenders. The aforementioned Saliba would have been on that list. Probably top taking into account how quickly we got the deal done. The list is players for the future.

The second list would have been “key targets”. Players who are established who would be the clubs preferred targets if a deal could be done. The likes of Daniele Rugani and Samuel Umtiti would have been on this list.

Finally the 3rd list would be labelled something along the lines of “cheap and experienced”. Players who can do a job in the short term, who would not cost too much money. It is the 3rd list that Chelsea would have picked up Rob Green from when they decided they had to sign an experienced, senior, home grown 3rd choice centre back.

Arsenal would have been targeting defenders from that middle list first and foremost.

Dayot Upamecano, Rugani and Umtiti would have been targets this summer. Players that would have been discussed. But with the transfer window shutting today, Arsenal have had to move on from those players and look at the emergency list. The players who are cheaper, could make an immediate impact and are easily obtainable.

David Luiz fits the bill.

At 32-years-old he is in the twilight of his career, but that means Arsenal would know exactly what they were getting.

On his day an excellent central defender, one of the best in the league. But a player with flaws who will make errors that cost you a goal or 2 over the course of the season.

The question Sanllehi, Edu and emery would have asked is “Is David Luiz better than our current options?”

With Rob Holding out and Laurent Koscielny gone, his comparators would have been Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi. Despite his age he is better than both.

A short term solution to a long term problem for Arsenal.

It gives the club a further 12 months to scout and recruit a long term solution at centre half. It lets Rob holding return to fitness and prove if he is the solution. It gives William Saliba the season of 1st team football that he needs.

Financially, Arsenal are basically exchanging Laurent Koscielny for David Luiz. Not a bad deal.

In 12 months time I would still expect Arsenal to sign a new central defender. We may well go back in for Upamecano.

In the long term, we only really have Holding and Saliba. We will need to add a 3rd senior central defender next summer (I do not believe Calum Chambers  is a realistic answer) to the pair, who will then be backed up by Kostadinos Mavropanos and Zech Medley. Add in David Luiz as some senior experience and you are set for 2020/21.

David Luiz might feel an odd signing and against what Arsenal have done this summer, but there is plenty of logic behind how he will end up an Arsenal player.

Keenos

Nearly gone…