Will these Arsenal signings satisfy the fans?
David Luiz, Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares and Dani Ceballos all extend their stay at the Emirates Stadium as Mikel Arteta's squad starts to take shape
24 June, 2020 — By Steve Barnett
Cedric Soares has yet to play for Arsenal since arriving injured in January
IT seemed more about balancing the books than “balancing the squad” as Arsenal announced no fewer than four deals today (Wednesday).
David Luiz signed a new one-year contract at the club, while fellow defenders Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares also made their respective loan moves permanent.
Midfielder Dani Ceballos also extended his loan from Real Madrid until the end of the season.
Arsenal technical director Edu said: “I am really happy that we will have these players in our squad for the future. They bring the right balance to our squad.”
Luiz, who signed from Chelsea last summer, was due to be out of contract at the end of June and Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta had urged the club to extend his deal.
Centre-back Mari, 26, who joined from Flamengo, and right-back Soares, 28, who came from Southampton, will formally complete their moves when the transfer window opens next month.
Edu added: “David is a really important player for us. He has played most of our matches this season and has been important for the team. His passing, his communication with the team on and off the pitch. He helps everyone.
“With Pablo we’re all disappointed he got injured at Manchester City. Since Mikel arrived here he was asking for a central defender who was left-footed.
“We were really pleased with Pablo – his behaviour, the way he is training, his mentality and his quality. Unfortunately, he has that injury, of course, we are really happy to keep him for the future.
“Cedric is also going to be an important player. He has been unlucky with the injuries but he is close to being ready and gives us more strength in the right-back position.
“We’re also pleased Dani will finish the season here. He is making a good contribution and we look forward to him having a strong finish to the season.”
Luiz, 33, all but single-handedly condemned Arsenal to a 3-0 defeat away to Manchester City in their first game back following the Premier League restart.
The Brazilian was at fault for Raheem Sterling’s opening goal, before then giving City the chance to double their lead from the penalty spot after being sent off for hauling down Riyad Mahrez inside the area.
Luiz had come on as a first-half sub for Mari, who will be out for “two to three months” with a “significant” ankle injury.
Meanwhile Soars still hasn’t played for the Gunners since arriving in January with a knee injury. And Ceballos seems unlikely to stay beyond this summer after stressing his interest in returning to Spain.
With all that in mind, the signings are hardly going to be enough to satisfy the Arsenal fans, who are crying out to see their team do more than just make up the numbers in the Premier League.
The truth of the matter is that the Gunners will have limited spending power this summer as they prepare for a fifth season without the income of Champions League football and the fall out of the coronavirus outbreak.
Arteta needs bodies to bolster his squad, and at this moment in time these signings fit the bill.