Gunner Thoughts

Arsenal contracts reach deadline day

Today is the day. Arsenal will need to decide what to do with David Luiz, Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares and Dani Ceballos

It’s a huge day for Arsenal football club’s front office. Deadline day. The day they have to decide what they are going to do surrounding more than a handful of contracts. In a lot of circumstances, they would simply be able to push these major decisions down the road a way by extending them a few months. But in true Arsenal fashion, it’s quite a bit more difficult than that. 

The drama already started a little bit yesterday when Matt Macey had this contract extended through the end of the season, despite rumors that he would be moving along. With Bernd Leno suffering a potential major injury at the weekend, Martinez looks to be Arsenal’s starter for the remainder of the year with Macey as the number two. Unless Arsenal look to bring someone in during the transfer window, the Martinez-Macey set up would be keeping duo for next year until Leno’s return, as well.

With loans and contracts expiring on the 30th, clubs were given until June 23rd to finalize their plans leaving Arsenal with a laundry list of people’s futures to sort out.

David Luiz

First up is David Luiz who openly blamed his ongoing contract uncertainties and decision not to finalize the deal during the lockdown period as the cause of his shocking return against Manchester City. Earlier this spring, it came out that the two-year deal many thought Luiz was on, was actually a one-year deal with the option to extend it for a second year. The problem with that from Arsenal’s perspective, is extending the deal would see Luiz continue to be paid the same weekly wages (£125.6k). Luiz and agent Kia Joorabchian want a new two-year deal on almost the same wages.

To make matters more interesting, Luiz was an absolute calamity at the back versus City when he did come on in his final appearance before this deadline. An error leading to goal, a penalty conceded, and a red card received in the span of 30 minutes of playing time. To think someone may have rolled out that type of a game and, through no action of their own, their chances of being signed permanently went up in the following days is ludicrous – and yet it’s the situation with Luiz. His leverage is evident and puts Arsenal in the worst type of place.

With Pablo Mari hurt for the season, limited options at the back, other center backs having more potential value in the market, limited funds to spend in a window, and Arteta openly stating his desire to keep Luiz — David and Kia are not short on leverage for the negotiation.

Pablo Mari

Pablo Mari came to Arsenal this year on loan from Flamengo after impressing in Brazil and making a splash on the global scale during a game he acquitted himself quite well against Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah. The left-footed, left center back appeared to fill the much-needed void for more security in the back and someone who could naturally cover the space vacated by a voyaging left back looking to overlap and get into the attack.

In normal circumstances, Arsenal would be able to extend this loan to the end of the season, see more examples of Mari in action and come to a better conclusion. However, Mari’s return to action after the lockdown resulted in an early injury to his Achilles tendon that is believed to be more along the lines of an Achilles tendon tear than rupture. It’s a fickle injury that could require surgery, months of rehab, and a high risk of reinjury. Arteta has openly talked about liking Mari and Mari’s desire for this deal to be made permanent, but if he has suffered a tear, he could be out until halfway through next year, making his signing an interesting dilemma.

According to reports, Arsenal are likely to make the permanent switch official.

Cedric Soares

Add him to the list of odd loan deals that have not panned out for Arsenal. He came from Southampton, was already injured, suffered a mysterious injury to his face which puts him out for two more weeks, and has yet to make an appearance for the club.

It seems most likely that Arsenal would look to extend his deal with Southampton at this point, rather than make an outright decision. According to sources, Arsenal have shelled out £5m in fees in total (Club + Agent) which is a very nice pay day for Raul’s pal Kia and exactly £5m currently wasted, unless Soares has brought something incredible to the training ground worth £5m…like £5m in cash as an apology in a duffle bag with his unworn Arsenal kit.

In all likelihood, given the compact schedule Arsenal will likely fork over a little more for depth and comfort. What they will do later is between Raul, KSE, Edu, and of course Kia who I imagine knows everything at this point. A poor loan deal that has cost them and looks to be costing them more to keep it going. We will see.

Dani Ceballos

Finally, we have Dani who is almost a locked in case of Arsenal extending a loan until the end of the season. At this point, I can’t imagine how Arsenal could cope with less options to choose from in the midfield. Can they even play with two full midfields in training for the next few weeks without him?

There is a serious lack of quality in the midfield and while Ceballos has not consistently been brilliant himself, he seems to be one of the better options Arsenal have to select. It is believed that he will return to Spain at the end of the season to either compete for a spot at Madrid or to move to a smaller La Liga side.

Other deals

These are the four most prominent dealings, but things do need to be worked out with some Arsenal loans.

Emile Smith Rowe needs to have his deal with Huddersfield extended in order to continue his quality growth there that has resulted in quite a few nice appearances.

Mouhammed Elneny is in an interesting situation with Besiktas who reportedly owe him unpaid wages, but no announcement on his extension.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan needs to have his loan extended with Roma. Although with his clear intent to make his switch permanent one would guess that won’t be an issue.

Finally, keeper Dejan Illiev has to sort out his stay with Polish side Jagiellonia Białystok

Should make for an interesting day! We will keep you appraised of any actions. Stay safe, stay well!

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