Arsenal are optimistic over the short-term future of centre-back David Luiz, who is expected to recover from a hamstring injury in time to return this season.
The veteran Brazilian, who has only just returned from knee surgery, went down with a new problem in his first game back, the 2-0 win over Newcastle United, and manager Mikel Arteta confessed to being concerned his season could be over.
Any season-ending injury would also likely have meant that Luiz’s time at Arsenal was over as well. The 34-year-old will be out of contract this season and does not look like putting pen to paper on an extension.
It all seemed a bit doom-and-gloom, but according to the Daily Mail, Luiz’s injury is not as bad as first feared and there is now confidence that he will be back in the very near future.
It is not yet clear when Luiz will return. Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal may come too soon, but the Premier League meeting with West Bromwich Albion on May 9 could be in his sights.
Arsenal now do not need to worry about the short term, but when it comes to Luiz’s future at the club beyond this season, there are still decisions to be made.
Fabrizio Romano recently claimed on his Here We Go Podcast that no final decision had been made on whether Luiz will remain at Arsenal, but if he does go, the club’s hierarchy would be open to signing a replacement.
There’s no denying that Arsenal could do with an upgrade at centre-back. Rob Holding, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers have all struggled this year, while 23-year-old Gabriel hasn’t had the impact most expected of him.
The club do have William Saliba, the £27m youngster who was frozen out in the first half of the season before being shipped off to Nice on loan in January. He has been a regular for the mid-table French side, but whether he has done enough to finally convince Arteta of his talents remains to be seen.
There have been links to numerous centre-backs, ranging from expensive options like Villarreal’s Pau Torres and Brighton’s Ben White to more modest options like Lyon’s Joachim Anderson and Young Boys’ Ali Camara.
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