Date published: Friday 19th June 2020 8:02
Paul Merson says Arsenal should consider keeping David Luiz beyond this season, but only if he agrees to lower his wage demands.
The defender endured a nightmare evening against Manchester City on Wednesday evening as the Gunners lost 3-0. Luiz was at fault for the first goal, gave away the penalty that doubled City’s lead and was sent off.
His performance received plenty of criticism, while it has also increased the chances of him leaving the Emirates this summer.
It emerged last month that the 33-year-old only signed an initial one-year deal with the Gunners. They do have an option to extend that for another 12 months, however it seems likely they will allow him to leave.
But ex-player Merson says Arsenal should consider keeping Luiz if he accepts a pay cut. In an interview with the Star, cited on Goal, Merson said: “David Luiz had a shocker at Manchester City because there were no fans in the ground, but unless he is asking for huge wages Arsenal should keep him.
“His contract is up and I’d be shocked now if he got another one, but if he’s not asking for a lot of money and it’s not going to break the bank, I’d keep him all day long.
“It all depends how much he is asking for. If he wants £100,000-a-week he won’t get that anywhere. Not in this day and age.
“What happened against Manchester City is not going to help him. His concentration levels are bad anyway but when you play with no crowd it’s even harder.
“It’s 100 per cent a big issue for him. The fans keep you honest. They keep your concentration levels up.
“When there’s no crowd your concentration levels dip a little and that happened with Luiz. He made mistakes and got sent off.
“He’s never going to cut those mistakes out, but if you’re looking at the all-round package, it could work at the right wages.
“He never hides, he makes a mistake and comes right back again, he came out and said it was his fault.
“He’s honest, and he’s never out injured. I have a lot of respect for him in that way.
“I like players who keep demanding the ball even when you’re losing.”
Despite Merson’s claims, it seems inevitable that Luiz will be playing elsewhere in 2020/21. Mikel Arteta has also admitted it is unclear where Luiz will be after the current campaign.
A return to former club Benfica has been reported, although no official bid has been launched.
There are also concerns that the Portuguese side would be unable to afford his wages, meaning they may back away.
Turkish club Fenerbache are also believed to be interested in the former Chelsea and PSG man.