David Luiz has reportedly rejected the offer of a new contract and looks set to leave Arsenal at the end of the season.
The defender’s future has been the subject of much debate in recent weeks as Mikel Arteta plots a summer rebuild.
Gunners chiefs want Luiz to remain at the Emirates for another season due to his influence on their young players.
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But according to the Daily Mail, Luiz will leave the Emirates in July once his contract expires, ending a two-year spell in north London.
The centre-back has informed club chiefs of his intention to leave, although his new destination is yet to be finalised.
Luiz has been linked with a return to Portuguese side Benfica. He made 130 appearances for the club between 2007 and 2011.
The 34-year-old has also been offered to an unnamed MLS franchise by his agent. However, a switch to America looks less likely.
Arteta will now begin his search for Luiz’s successor in the squad. That could be young Frenchman William Saliba, who has been in good form since joining Nice on loan.
Arteta is keen to give the 20-year-old a chance to impress at the start of 2021/22.
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Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holding and Pablo Mari are available to Arteta in defence if Saliba’s Emirates return doesn’t work out.
All three featured in the recent derby win over Chelsea, where they managed to keep out star forwards Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic.
While Arteta has plenty of options in central defence, he certainly needs to improve his squad elsewhere.
The Spaniard has reportedly identified five positions which need reinforcements this summer.
Left-back is one, with cover for Scotsman Kieran Tierney required. Ryan Bertrand will soon become a free agent and may be signed.
On the other side of defence, Hector Bellerin could finally be allowed to leave for Paris Saint-Germain. Norwich star Max Aarons is close to becoming his replacement.
Arteta is also keen to sign a new central midfielder. This position is the most plentiful in terms of transfer whispers. Yves Bissouma and Sander Berge have both been touted as potential Arsenal players next season.
Luiz will not be the only star to leave Arsenal this summer as the Gunners look set to undergo huge changes.