Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti made a surprise direct play for a former Arsenal star who departed the Gunners this summer, per a report.
Ahead of Ancelotti’s first season back at the Bernabeu, the Italian was faced with a dilemma in what had always been a position of strength. The twin departures of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane left Los Blancos light at centre-back.
David Alaba was acquired as a free agent, while the likes of Eder Militao, Nacho and Jesus Vallejo remain on the books. However, per the Daily Mail, Ancelotti sought an extra option with Real expected to challenge on three fronts.
Citing Brazilian outlet Globo, Ancelotti reportedly turned to ex-Arsenal defender David Luiz. The Brazilian was free to find a new club this summer after his two-year contract in North London expired in June.
Luiz and Ancelotti have a prior connection owing to their shared time at Chelsea in 2011.
With their budget tighter than usual, it’s claimed Ancelotti personally ‘called’ Luiz in the hopes of striking a deal.
However, an agreement could not be reached due to administrative reasons. Real had hit the cap for non-EU players and a relevant exit did not materialise to open up a spot.
Luiz would ultimately go on to sign with Flamengo in his native Brazil. He will link up with familiar faces after a Chelsea winger and Man Utd midfielder joined in the summer window.
But according to the Mail, interest in Luiz was more widespread than initially believed.
They claim Luiz’s former club Benfica were the most ardent in their efforts to sign the veteran. Additionally, Qatari side Al-Rayyan reportedly offered a lucrative £12m deal over two years.
Arteta clarifies Arsenal goalkeeper conundrum
Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta has issued further clarification of Arsenal’s goalkeeper situation with a message to Bernd Leno, but denied reports he had chosen the goalkeeper to come back in for the north London derby.
Aaron Ramsdale has already played twice for his new club and has kept clean sheets in both those appearances. And given that Arsenal forked out £25m to sign him, it is unlikely Leno will be the outright number one any more.
As such, there have been doubts about the German’s future. He is under contract until 2023, but some are predicting a premature exit for the former Bayer Leverkusen custodian. Arteta, though, insists he has two useful options to choose from and that the situation is nothing unusual.
“It’s the same in every position,” he said. “We want them to make each other better. We are trying to bring players that can raise the level of the position, the level of the team the leave of the club.
“Bernd should be disappointed and he should support his teammates like they all have with him. That’s exactly what he’s done.”
As he hinted, Arteta went on to deny rumours that Leno had reacted badly to losing his place to Ramsdale in recent games. “No that’s not true,” the manager said. “He was top with his teammates in training and everything. That’s not true.”