Mikel Arteta still ‘unconvinced’ by William Saliba as Arsenal make plans for David Luiz’s future

Mikel Arteta remains unconvinced by Wiliam Saliba's suitability for Premier League football
Mikel Arteta remains unconvinced by Wiliam Saliba’s suitability for Premier League football (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal will ask David Luiz to take a pay cut if he wishes to extend his stay at the north London club into a third season.

The experienced Brazilian centre-half remains an influential figure in the Arsenal dressing room and, despite the abundance of options available to Mikel Arteta, had been one of the first names on his team sheet before he suffered a potentially season-ending knee injury last week.

Luiz missed Saturday’s heavy home defeat against Liverpool and has subsequently undergone minor surgery.

Arsenal remain hopeful that the 33-year-old will play again this season but should he want to remain beyond the end of the season he will have to sign a contract on reduced terms, according to The Sun.

The former Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain star came close to walking away from the Gunners 12 months ago but, having been given the unequivocal backing of his manager, signed a year-long extension.

Speaking about Luiz’s situation, Arteta insisted he was capable of playing well into his late thirties, as long as he maintains the level of desire he has shown over the course of a testing campaign.

He said: ‘David has played an insane amount of games in the last two months and at his age it shows a lot of credit and desire from his side.

‘His performances have been really strong and you can have some really good example of defenders that have played until 37 or 38.

‘It depends first of all on being injury-free, and then on the ambition, eagerness and professionalism of the player.

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William Saliba joined Nice on loan from Arsenal in January (Picture: Getty)

‘If you have those ingredients as a defender, I think you can get away with a little bit more.’

Should Luiz, who has previously stated his desire to finish his career at another of his former clubs Benfica, depart in the summer, Arteta will be forced into making a decision on the future of two of the club’s current loanees.

Konstantinos Mavrapanos, a signing from the Arsene Wenger era, has enhanced his reputation with Stuttgard this season, while William Saliba joined Nice in January looking to kick-start his career following a testing start to his Arsenal career.

Saliba joined the Gunners back in the summer of 2019 for a fee of £27million but spent the season back on loan with St Etienne and upon his returned to his parent club was deemed surplus to requirements by Arteta.

The France Under-21 international has impressed back in the familiar surroundings of Ligue 1 but, according to The Sun, Arteta is still be persuaded that the former Les Vertss prodigy is cut out for the rigours of Premier League football.

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