Mikel Arteta left saddened by David Luiz’s decision to leave Arsenal

David Luiz is set to leave Arsenal at the end of the season (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta admits he is saddened by the impending departure of David Luiz from Arsenal.

The veteran centre-half join the Gunners for London rivals Chelsea in the summer of 2018 and, after an inausipicious start, emerged as a key component of Arteta’s rebuild following the departure of Unai Emery.

Luiz appeared to be on the verge of quitting Arsenal at the end of last season but Arteta fought to keep the 34-year-old and he has, arguably, been Arsenal’s most consistent central defender this season.

Knee and hamstring injuries prevented the former Brazil international from playing an active role in the decisive part of a difficult campaign for Arsenal and Arteta alike, and with the north London club set to miss out on European football for the first time in 25 years, Luiz reportedly informed Arsenal last week of his desire to seek a fresh challenge.

Speaking about the former PSG star’s decision for the first time, Arteta said: He is a player that has won everything in football and has earned every right to do so because of who he is as a player and as a person.

David Luiz suffered a hamstring strain during his Arsenal comeback match against Newcastle earlier this month (Picture: Getty)

‘I had the privilege to work with him for 18 months, which I really enjoyed. We got on really well, we had some great moments together, he has been really helpful, someone that we really like and appreciate so much.

‘When you get to know the person, his background, where he was raised in Brazil, what he’s done to get to this point, it’s remarkable. Then you understand a lot of these things have happened for a reason. It’s not just an ability, a quality or determination, it’s many other factors.

‘I’ve really enjoyed learning from him. He’s been very helpful every time with the team, and I feel sadness as well because you get attached to the players emotionally.

‘First it’s the player that we have to get the maximum out of, and then it’s the person. When it gets to these stages, it’s tough and it hurts because that relationship is now going to be going away at least in this space of not seeing him every day. Again, I have to say thank you to him.’

Asked how club and player arrived at the decision, Arteta added: ‘We had very clear talks in the last few months. We already had a big decision to make last year when we had to extend his contract in a very difficult moment during the COVID world, the pay cuts and everything.

‘We managed to extend that for one more season. He’s given his best, I tried to help him as much as I possibly could, and the club did as well. After some conversations, we decided it’s the best way to do it now.

‘It’s after a few conversations that we had, David and I. We discussed the situation on different occasions and the other day we made the final decision on it.’

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