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Luiz hailed as 'important' after extending Arsenal stay

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New deal: David Luiz is staying at Arsenal despite criticism

New deal: David Luiz is staying at Arsenal despite criticism

PA

New deal: David Luiz is staying at Arsenal despite criticism

Arsenal centre-back David Luiz has agreed a new one-year deal with the north London club.

The 33-year-old's contract was due to expire on June 30, having joined the Gunners last summer from Chelsea on an initial 12-month deal.

Arsenal - who travel to Southampton this evening - have also moved to make the temporary moves of fellow defenders Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares into permanent arrangements, while midfielder Dani Ceballos' loan from Real Madrid has been extended until the end of the 2019-20 season.

Luiz's new agreement comes despite heavy criticism following his display against Manchester City last week, when he was at fault for two goals - conceding the penalty that led to the second - and was sent off.

Mari and Cedric will join on "long-term" deals from Flamengo and Southampton respectively, with the moves set to be sealed when the transfer window officially opens next month.

Technical director Edu said: "I am really happy that we will have these players in our squad for the future. They have been part of the long-term technical plan (head coach) Mikel (Arteta) and I have developed. They bring the right balance.

"David is a really important player for us. He has played most of our matches this season and has been important for the team. His passing, his communication with the team on and off the pitch, he helps everyone."

Edu continued: "With Pablo we're all disappointed he got injured at Manchester City. Since Mikel arrived here he was asking for a central defender who was left-footed.

"We were really pleased with Pablo - his behaviour, the way he is training, his mentality and quality. Unfortunately he has that injury, but we are really happy to keep him.

"Cedric is also going to be an important player. He has been unlucky with the injuries but he is close to being ready and gives us more strength in the right-back position.

"We're also pleased Dani will finish the season here. He is making a good contribution."

Meanwhile, Saint boss Ralph Hasenhuttl's attention is on moving up the table rather than merely reaching the 40-point mark.

Saints returned from the coronavirus suspension with a bang at Carrow Road last Friday when Danny Ings, Stuart Armstrong and Nathan Redmond scored in a deserved 3-0 win against Norwich.

Hasenhuttl's men are now preparing to step out at St Mary's for the first time since March.

Victory would take Southampton level with the Gunners on 40 points, but safety is not enough for the Austrian.

"We want to take as much points as possible in the last eight games," Hasenhuttl said.

"The more wins we take, the higher we climb in the table, so we know that for relegation I think we are in a very good position now. It's quite unlikely that we get relegated."

Belfast Telegraph