Former Arsenal defender David Luiz has revealed the influence a Gunners star had on his decision to join a pair of players familiar to Man Utd and Chelsea fans at Flamengo.
Luiz, 34, saw his contract in North London expire back in June. Evidenced by their influx of new signings all under the age of 24, Arsenal opted against re-signing the Brazilian as they sought to refresh their squad.
Few would have anticipated Luiz would have an almighty struggle on his hands to find a new club.
The veteran has never been the safest pair of hands at the back, though he does boast a wealth of experience and is more than capable on the ball.
So it came as something of a surprise to see Luiz join his next team as late as September 11. Returning to his homeland, Luiz signed a 15-month contract with Flamengo.
In doing so, Luiz will link up with a pair of faces familiar to Man Utd and Chelsea fans. The Brazilian side have also acquired midfielder Andreas Pereira and winger Kenedy – both on loan deals.
Now, speaking to Flamengo’s YouTube channel FlaTV (via Caught Offside), Luiz revealed the influence of ex-Gunners teammate Pablo Mari regarding his decision to join Flamengo.
Spaniard Mari made the surprise career step of moving to Brazil in 2019 after his stint at Man City concluded without making a single appearance.
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Per Luiz, Mari “lived the best” moments of his career at Flamengo. And it is that glowing recommendation that appears to have influenced Luiz’s decision to sign with the Brazilian outfit.
“Ever since he [Mari] arrived at Arsenal, I’ve tried to build a friendship with him,” said Luiz.
“He was delighted with Flamengo, with Rio de Janeiro, with Brazil. He lived his best career moments here at Flamengo.”
Arsenal new boy vows to play anywhere
Meanwhile, Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu is planning to ease the pressure on manager Mikel Arteta by offering crucial versatility.
The Japan international had strong links with a move to the Premier League throughout the summer. However, after significant interest from Tottenham, Arsenal snapped him up on transfer deadline day.
Asked by the Evening Standard where he feels he operates best, Tomiyasu said: “I think I can play with both feet, I can play every position as a defender.
“And I am an intelligent player so I can always read the next situation. For me it doesn’t matter [where I play] because the most important thing is to play in the game.
“So if the coach told me to play striker, I would play striker!”