Mikel Arteta heaped praise on Arsenal defender David Luiz as he provided an update on negotiations over a contract extension for the Brazilian.
Luiz, 33, joined the Gunners in 2019 and signed a one-year extension at the Emirates last summer.
The Brazilian veteran has been a regular at centre-back and has racked up 17 appearances in all competitions, but he will be available for free this summer if he does not agree to new terms with Arsenal chiefs.
Gunners boss Arteta is unconcerned about Luiz’s situation, however, explaining he regularly talks to the player about his contract situation as he praised the defender’s performances.
Quizzed on whether Luiz is close to signing a new deal, Arteta told reporters: “No, there are still a few months to go on that. I all the time talk to him about this kind of thing so we’re in a good position.
“He showed his character first of all with the decision he made to join the club when he was with a club where he was winning trophies and he was still comfortable and under contract.
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“And he wanted a challenge. And at that age it tells your everything because normally at that age the challenge is not sporting but more a financial decision that you take to go to a different country.
“But David loves this game so much and he wants to keep playing at the highest level in a very competitive league. This is the challenge that he’s enjoying at the moment.”
Pressed further on whether he would like Luiz to extend his stay in north London, Arteta responded: “What I want is for him to keep performing like this to the end of the season.”
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The Gunners boss also lauded the former Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain star for setting a shining example to his young Arsenal players and taking on leadership responsibilities.
Arteta said: “It’s credit to him because he trains really hard. This season has been really tough in the beginning because he’s been through some injuries but he’s kept at it.
“He understood his role, he knows his role in the team, he’s one of our leaders and he’s so willing to keep improving.
“He knows the things that he’s really good at and the things where there is still room for improvement. He’s a really honest man with himself. He’s won everything and it’s a joy to work with him.
“He’s a great example for them (Arsenal’s youngsters). He’s got a good mixture with them between some banter and then some stick.
“They all listen to him because of who he is and what he’s done in the game. But also because how he behaves every day, how professional he is and how he goes about the job. He is one of the key role models that we have in our team.”
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