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Luiz future at Arsenal in doubt

David Luiz could be set for an Arsenal exit just one year after arriving from Chelsea.

The Gunners paid their west London rivals £8 million ($9.8m) to sign the Brazil international last summer, with the centre-back completing his shock move across the capital on deadline day.

And despite some high profile errors, Luiz has become persistent in the heart of the Arsenal defense, both under Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta, who was appointed in December following Emery’s dismissal.

Luiz has featured in all but one of Arteta’s 15 matches in charge and has often spoken in glowing terms of the Spaniard’s methods.

“Mikel is doing amazing, I am enjoying being almost 33 years old and still learning and improving and to see how beautiful football is,” Luiz told Adidas in April.

“Every day he changes something more and how a new idea and philosophy can still improve me as a person, as a player and as a leader.” But despite his close relationship with Arteta, Luiz could soon be on the look out for a new club – with Arsenal still to start talks over activating the clause in his contract which would see him stay at Emirates Stadium for another season.

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The Gunners do have William Saliba arriving this summer following his loan spell with Saint Etienne and are also expected to sign Pablo Mari on a permanent deal from Flamengo.

Mari, a naturally left-footed centre-back, would be in direct competition with Luiz, given both prefer to play as the left-sided central defender in a back four.

However, Luiz has publicly stated he has no issues moving to accommodate the Spaniard, who arrived in January on an initial loan deal.

Luiz is one of the highest earners at Arsenal and the north London club are looking to drastically lower their wage bill amid the increasing financial implications being caused by the coronavirus crisis.

The Gunners are predicted to lose up to £144m ($177m) if the entire 2020-21 season is played behind closed doors due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Arsenal could start full contact training as early as Thursday after Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to step up plans for a return to action.

Players have been training in groups of up to five since last week, but with social distancing guidelines still in place.

But during a Premier League shareholder meeting on Wednesday, clubs agreed to resume full contact training once again ahead of the league’s planned resumption next month.

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Arsenal players, coaches agree 12.5 wage cut

Arsenal players and coaching staff have approved to take a voluntary 12.5 per cent pay cut to help support the club financially during the coronavirus crisis.

Talks will continue on an individual basis with some players who have not agreed to the deal, but the vast majority of players have agreed to blanket measures. The proposal will stay on the table for those who have not yet agreed to it.

A statement from the club clarified the agreement is based on the assumption that the 2019-20 Premier League season will be completed, and that full broadcasting revenue will be received as a result.

The statement read: “The move follows positive and constructive discussions.

“In these conversations there has been a clear appreciation of the gravity of the current situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and a strong desire for players and staff to show their backing for the Arsenal family.

“Reductions of total annual earnings by 12.5 per cent will come into effect this month, with the contractual paperwork being completed in the coming days.

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“If we meet specific targets in the seasons ahead, primarily linked to success on the pitch, the club will repay agreed amounts.

“We will be able to make those repayments as hitting these targets, which the players can directly influence, will mean our financial position will be stronger.

“The agreement is based on the assumption we will finish the season 2019-20 and receive the full broadcasting revenues.

“The resulting savings will help cover some of the financial risks we have this season in relation to our matchday and commercial income.

“We are proud and grateful to our players and staff for pulling together to support our club, our people and our community in these unprecedented times which are some of the most challenging we have faced in our history.”

Last Monday, players refused a wage-cut proposal but talks with manager Mikel Arteta helped steer the club towards an amicable resolution.

Despite cutbacks, transfer plans are still being made.

The Gunners have contacted Reims over a potential €15 million (£13m/$16m) move for 22-year-old centre-back Axel Disasi, while fellow defender Pablo Mari is hopeful his loan switch from Flamengo will be made permanent.

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