From the eccentric hair to the eccentric playing style to the eccentric just-about-everything-else, David Luiz has certainly been a presence wherever he has been.
And while it hasn’t always been a smooth ride at Arsenal, the Brazilian managed to grab some silverware during his time at the Emirates, beating ex-club Chelsea in the FA Cup final last campaign. A neutral’s dream to watch, Luiz has undeniably been an influential voice on and off the pitch for the Gunners, helping young players along the way. But time’s up for the centre-back, and he will be on his way this summer.
He won’t be easy to replace, but he needs replacing. So who could Arsenal bring in to fill that hole?
After a very lucrative decade at Bayern Munich, Jerome Boateng will be playing for another club next campaign.
There is no doubt the 31-year fits the bill in terms of quality and experience – he’d be a very healthy addition to the Gunners’ back line.
However, with Mikel Arteta keen to bring in fresher faces – and Boateng’s undoubted thirst for European football – this one seems a little unlikely.
Somehow, Kalidou Koulibaly isn’t already a Premier League player. The Senegal international has been linked with a move to these shores for what seems an eternity, but is still donning the shirt of Napoli.
Like Boateng, he’d bring composure and defensive solidity and at 29, he definitely still has a few years at the top of his game left.
A move to a non-challenging Arsenal may not be his preference, though.
At just 23 with undeniable quality, Merih Demiral is much more up Arteta’s street.
What will concern the Arsenal boss, however, is that the Turkey international has featured just 31 times for Juventus since his arrival in 2019. A series of injuries has kept him from progressing very far at the Old Lady and he hasn’t played a league match since early March.
It may take time for the centre-back to really put a run of games together for the Gunners, but his potential is something to really take into account.
A season-long loan to a relegated club shouldn’t really be considered a success. But, on a personal level, Joachim Andersen’s spell at Fulham this campaign has come with its rewards.
The Dane has been a rare shining light for the Cottagers and, with his passing ability and defensive capabilities, clubs higher up the table are taking notice.
Arsenal’s arch rivals Tottenham are one team heavily linked and, with Andersen keen to stay in the Premier League rather than return to Lyon, the door could be open for the Gunners to nip in and lure him away from Spurs.
As reliable as they come.
James Tarkowski has been pivotal to Burnley’s admirable pragmatism in recent years, which has seen them secure their Premier League status against all odds.
He may not have much room for improvement but, at 28, he can certainly add a leader’s voice and solidity for a good few years to come.
Ezri Konsa has been central to Aston Villa’s phenomenal turnaround this season, missing just 45 minutes of Premier League action when fit.
A solid defender with great passing ability and grit in his attitude, Konsa is just 23 years of age, leaving him plenty of time to establish himself on the domestic – and potentially international – scene.
Villa will inevitably do all they can to keep hold of him but the London boy may be swayed by the might of the Gunners.
Duje Caleta-Car probably represents the cheapest option of the younger names on this list.
The Marseille centre-back was linked with a deadline day move to Liverpool in January and, although that fell through, the Croatia international is keen on a move to the Premier League.
The now-24-year old became an instant regular in the Marseille lineup and, since his arrival in 2018, has racked up 89 appearances.
His ability to build play efficiently and precisely, paired with a composed, combative and strong defensive style has attracted vast interest, with West Ham also reportedly in the market for him.
Having been one of the Championship’s best players while on loan at Leeds in the 2019/20 campaign, Ben White has had a solid maiden Premier League season.
The Englishman has missed just two league games all season and has firmly established himself as a key part of an exciting Brighton team.
A very cool, calm and collected central defender, White can even step into the centre of midfield with his passing ability, while his tough tackling makes him a daunting prospect for any forward.
He’s a bright prospect and, at just 23, can excel with the right opportunity. Arsenal would inevitably face competition should they pursue White, with Roma now linked with the player.