Mikel Arteta gives update on contract talks with ‘key’ Arsenal leader David Luiz

David Luiz of Arsenal warms up prior to the Premier League match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary's Stadium on January 26, 2021 in Southampton, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors.
David Luiz is out of contract at the end of the season (Picture: Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta is in no rush to sort a new contract for Arsenal centre-back David Luiz but revealed he talks to him ‘all the time’ about the situation.

Arteta is a big fan of Luiz, who he described as a ‘key role model’ and ‘leader’ at the club, and has been impressed by the partnership he’s forged with Rob Holding at the heart of the Arsenal defence.

While Luiz – the former Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain defender – has become an important part of the team, he is out of contract at the end of the season and the club appear in no rush to force through a new deal.

Asked he he’d spoken with Luiz about an extension: ‘No, there are still a few months to go on that. I all the time talk to him about this kind of thing so we’re in a good position.

‘He showed his character first of all with the decision he made to join the club when he was with a club where he was winning trophies and he was still comfortable and under contract.

‘And he wanted a challenge. And at that age it tells your everything because normally at that age the challenge is not sporting but more a financial decision that you take to go to a different country.

Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 30, 2021.
Arteta has been impressed by Luiz (Picture: AFP via Getty)

‘But David loves this game so much and he wants to keep playing at the highest level in a very competitive league. This is the challenge that he’s enjoying at the moment.’

When asked if he wants Luiz to stay, Arteta added: ‘What I want is for him to keep performing like this to the end of the season.’

Despite the slow progress on a new contract, Arteta has been delighted with his performances for the club this season.

‘It’s credit to him because he trains really hard,’ Arteta said.

‘This season has been really tough in the beginning because he’s been through some injuries but he’s kept at it, he understood his role, he knows his role in the team, he’s one of our leaders and he’s so willing to keep improving.

‘He knows the things that he’s really good at and the things where there is still room for improvement. He’s a really honest man with himself. He’s won everything and it’s a joy to work with him.

‘He’s a great example for them (the youngsters). He’s got a good mixture with them between some banter and then some stick.

‘They all listen to him because of who he is and what he’s done in the game. But also because how he behaves every day, how professional he is and how he goes about the job. He is one of the key role models that we have in our team.’

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