Mikel Arteta is not ruling out David Luiz receiving a new deal at Arsenal and reminded those players on expiring contracts that they can earn an extension through their performances on the pitch.
David Luiz made his return from a spell out with illness in Saturday’s FA Cup third-round clash with Newcastle United, playing 120 minutes in what was just his third appearance since the start of December.
The 33-year-old has also missed time due to a hamstring problem and a head injury this season, limiting him to 14 outings in all competitions.
Among defenders to have made at least 40 Premier League appearances since the start of last season, David Luiz is among a group to have kept the fewest clean sheets (eight, along with Adam Webster, Lucas Digne and Yerry Mina).
However, Arsenal have only conceded 47 goals while he has been on the pitch, with only Virgil van Dijk (44), Serge Aurier (42) and Kyle Walker (35) shipping fewer.
David Luiz’s contract at Emirates Stadium will expire at the end of the season but Arteta suggested he could yet play his way into an offer of fresh terms.
“David had a really difficult season because he had three different things that have kept him away from training and games, which is unusual because he’s normally he’s always available,” said Arteta.
“He had to deal with that and then he had to play 120 minutes and I think he was exceptional, just the way he handled the game against a difficult number nine like Andy Carroll and to play for 120 minutes as well at his age with not much was a real test and I really like what he did.
“He is fantastic. He’s one of the leaders in the dressing room. He’s one of the most experienced players and he’s won everything in the game.
“He is so good with the young kids. When you look at people who can help and be a role model, he is always with them, he is always supporting them, giving them confidence and advice. It is great to have someone like him around.
“We will see what happens. There’s a lot of things happening around the club. A lot of decisions to make. I don’t want to rush any decisions. I just want players to be focused.
“They know they have six months left or eight months left, some of them a year, they know their contracts are like that and we can’t change them right now. I think it’s time to be focused.
“We’ve been through a difficult period in the last few weeks and I just want people to focus on football. If you do what you have to do on the football pitch you will deserve the chance to keep with us if this is what you want.”
Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Mesut Ozil are only contracted to Arsenal until the end of the season, while Dani Ceballos’ loan deal will end at that point.
Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, Calum Chambers and Mohamed Elneny are on deals that run until June 2022.