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Mikel Arteta pays glowing tribute to David Luiz ahead of defender’s Arsenal exit

Mikel Arteta paid a glowing tribute to “remarkable” David Luiz after confirming the Arsenal defender will head a big-name exodus from the Emirates this summer.

The Gunners defender will leave when his contract expires at the end of the season. He could be followed by Hector Bellerin and there are doubts on the long term futures of Willian and Alexandre Lacazette.

Luiz joined two years ago and Arteta has valued his experience despite some ups and downs at the club but now Arsenal are ready for a clear out in terms of the wage bill but also to help fund up to four new signings.

The Arsenal boss said: “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.

Arteta has paid a glowing tribute to Luiz

“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. He’s also a great person.

“After some conversations, we decided it’s the best way to do it now.”

Willian has two years left on his £200,000-a-week contract, Bellerin is also open to leaving while Arsenal must decide whether to extend Lacazette’s deal which has only 12 months left.

Arsenal would almost certainly have to reach a financial agreement with Willian and Arteta was a bit more cryptic, insisting he would more likely stay but they would have talks.

Arteta said: “First of all we signed a player with an incredible talent and this season has been difficult and I take full responsibility because I have to be the one getting the best out of him.

“This is an assessment that we will do individually with the players and with Edu, the board and the ownership to make the right decisions for the future.

“What I can say is that we know what we want to do and there is a clear plan to put that together. It’s true that there are a lot of decision to make. Let’s see how much we can do.”

Arteta also paid a warm tribute to Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson who is retiring at the end of the season and will take charge of his final home game at Selhurst Park on Wednesday night.

Arteta added: “He is an absolute legend. What he has done in football, for English football, what he transmits as a person, as a manager, the work he has done at different clubs, I think it is remarkable.

“To keep doing it for so long, with the way he has always conducted himself, I think it’s a great example for me as a young coach – he is someone I admire.”




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