David Luiz’s new much-maligned contract extension at Arsenal was only offered to the defender after he agreed to take a ‘significant’ reduction on his £120,000-per-week salary.
After an underwhelming season reached its lowest point with two glaring errors and a red card against Manchester City, there were strong calls from Arsenal supporters to prevent their club extending Luiz’s stay in north London
Despite vociferous opposition from a number of the club’s fans, Luiz was handed a new one-year deal – which was always an option in his initial contract – to much disdain, much of that down to the hefty weekly wages he was on.
However, the Telegraph have now revealed that the Brazilian is earning ‘significantly’ less than his previous wages, although exactly how much is not confirmed.
Having mulled over the financial wiggle room to tie Luiz down, the pay reduction is said to have opened the door for Arsenal to grant four-year deals to Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares respectively.
Despite financial concerns, Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu remained intent on keeping hold of Luiz for another season, due to his experience and leadership behind the scenes – as well as his (apparent) performances on the pitch.
Having lifted league titles in England and France, they see the experienced 33-year-old as crucial in helping a youthful squad continue developing, while he is also seen as the ideal mentor for William Saliba, who will link up with the Gunners for the 2020/21 campaign.
Experience was also key in the acquisition of Soares. The Portuguese right-back has not played a single minute for the club since arriving on an initial loan from Southampton in January, but his familiarity with the Premier League and international background meant he was seen as a welcome addition to the defence.
Cedric earned himself a long-term deal as the club were aware that free agents require greater financial commitments due to the lack of a transfer fee. Both players are available for selection for the Gunners’ FA Cup tie with Sheffield United on Sunday.