David Luiz has that funny knack of coming up with one of those performances just when you think his time is up. It’s bemusing that this often comes against the most formidable opponents.
It is no secret that he makes mistakes that are not expected from a top centre back. While he has had an illustrious career in terms of clubs he has represented, the “liability” of playing him at times has seen most lose patience with him.
However, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was left impressed following Luiz’ performance against Manchester United in the team’s 0-0 draw at home. It is the character shown by Luiz when pressure is at its highest that seems to have convinced Arteta about the need for having such a player in his squad.
Luiz delivered a man-of-the-match performance against Manchester United. Without the likes of Kieran Tierney, Bukayo Saka and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Luiz stepped up.
It is perhaps the character shown by Luiz that has impressed Arteta the most. With a relatively young squad at his disposal, Arteta may seek the maturity and experience of Luiz to turn up in similar matches going ahead.
“They listen to him because of who he is and what he has done in the game,” Arteta said. “But also because of how he behaves every day, how professional he is and how he goes about the job. He is one of the key role models.”
Luiz turns 34 in April and a decision on his future at the club is likely to be made soon given that his contract will expire in the summer.
With young defenders looking to force their way into the XI and with Luiz in the twilight of his playing career, it one can argue that Arsenal should move its attention elsewhere. However, judging by Arteta’s comments, it seems likely that the manager sees Luiz as part of his plans going forward.
“He knows his role in the team, he is one of our leaders and he is so willing to keep improving,” Arteta said.
“Even at this age he is always looking at his games and clips, all the time asking questions. When that happens you can still improve as a player and I think that’s why he is performing the way he is.
“He is a really honest man with himself. He has won everything and it is a joy to work with him.”
While there has been no formal discussion regarding his contract, Arteta says the club is in a good position as they talk “all the time about this kind of thing”.
It is likely that Luiz will not be afforded regular minutes in the future. It is the Brazilian’s decision on whether he would like to be a squad member at Arsenal or get more game time at some other club.