Premier League: Is David Luiz the bargain of the summer?
David Luiz signing for Arsenal for £8 million is without a doubt one of the bargains of the summer. As Manchester United and Manchester City will testify, buying a defender in this market is an incredibly expensive task. In a window in which Harry Maguire went for £80 million and the asking price for Nathan Ake is £70 million, getting Luiz for £8 million is an absolute steal.
It was around 3 years ago with the arrival of Pep Guardiola that the price of the defenders in Premier League just shot up. Quality defenders were becoming a rare commodity by the day and football clubs across the world, especially in the Premier League, finally realized the importance of spending heavily on their defence. Arsenal themselves spent close to £27m to get William Saliba, who will join them next season.
While Saliba was a signing for the future, Luiz is for the immediate season. Arsenal are woefully short in the centre-back department. Koscielny left to join Bordeaux. Holding is just back from an ACL injury and will take a while to be back to his best. Mustafi looks completely short of confidence and the club is trying to sell him as well. Bids for both Upamecano and Rugani were rejected and it looked like Arsenal were in a bit of a mire.
It was a bit of a surprise that Chelsea decided to do Arsenal a favour with whom they are likely to compete for a place in the top 4. Luiz had signed a new 2-year deal with Chelsea just in May and they are currently serving a transfer ban as well. However, the entire saga made sense after reports emerged of how Luiz was turning into a disruptive influence at Chelsea.
Centre-back was also one area where they had good cover with Rudiger, Zouma, Christensen and Azpilicueta. David Luiz has come a long way from the time when he was described as a 'PlayStation defender' by Gary Neville. He has been a mainstay in the Chelsea defence ever since his return.
His ability to play from the back suits Emery's philosophy. It is something that Arsenal tried to last season but failed. Luiz attempted 42 through balls in 2018-19, which was 8 more than any other player in the league. He is also capable of playing in multiple positions. While concentration lapses still exist, he has largely managed to curb them down.
There are better defenders in the Premier League. Luiz is unpredictable and bit of a volatile character as well. It remains to be seen how much he can improve the Arsenal defence which conceded 51 goals in the league last season. But what is clear is that Arsenal have made the best of the situation they were in.
Luiz is a very good replacement for Koscielny and is better than any of the defenders Arsenal currently possess barring perhaps Sokratis. And having spent only £8m, Arsenal can go back to the market in January or next summer and spend big on their primary defensive targets. One thing is for sure, it is going to be a roller-coaster ride with him marshalling Arsenal's defence.