Arsenal legend Emmanuel Petit has launched a scathing attack on David Luiz and has branded the decision to award him a new deal at the Emirates as ‘a joke’.
The Brazilian centre-back made a calamitous return to football last week after having a hand in two of Manchester City’s three goals in the 3-0 defeat at the Etihad.
After coming off the bench in the first half, Luiz made a mistake for the first goal then gave away a penalty and was sent off for the second, meaning he then missed the club’s next game – which they lost away at Brighton.
A few days after his disastrous performance, Arsenal fans were met with the news that Luiz had put pen to paper on a new deal, keeping him at the club for another year.
The news infuriated Gunner’s icon Petit, who hit out at the former Chelsea defender and the Arsenal board.
‘David Luiz hasn’t been a proper footballer for about three years,’ Petit told Paddy Power. ‘But I’m not surprised that he has been given a new contract at Arsenal because I’ve been very disappointed in relation to the club’s activity in the transfer market.
‘If I was David Luiz, of course, I would sign a new deal and I would also say a prayer of thanks to the Arsenal directors every time I wake up. Even when he last won the Premier League with Chelsea, he’s not the same player any more. This guy has lost something.
‘To be honest, it’s a joke. Find some proper defenders. Are you telling me there are no young talented defenders on the market? I just don’t get it.’
Following the news that Luiz would be committing himself to Arsenal for another year on Tuesday, the north London club announced that Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares have also been handed new contracts beyond the current campaign, while loanee Dani Ceballos has extended his deal until the end of the season.
The news angered sections of the supporters considering the fact that Mari is out injured until November and that Soares is also sidelined – and has still not played a game since joining from Southampton on loan.
Petit was among the Arsenal contingent that was baffled by the news, leaving the Frenchman to take aim at the club’s board.
‘Does anyone think the Arsenal executives and directors know what they’re doing on the football side of things?’ Petit added. ‘For the last few years they have been splashing out on the transfer market – and have brought in some decent players – but I don’t know what their target or project for the future is.
‘It’s far worse now than in the last years under Wenger. What is the point of being one of the richest clubs on the planet with no reason or vision behind it?’
Days after the City defeat, Arsenal would go on to lose in the last minute against Brighton, with Mikel Arteta watching first-choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno taken off on a stretcher following a collision with Neal Maupay.
The manner in how Arsenal lost – and how their players reacted – angered Petit who insists he would’ve confronted each and every player in the dressing room if he was still playing.
He said: ‘Arsenal look like an average team with no spirit, with no anger or pride. I saw them against Brighton at the end of the game, trying to fight Neal Maupay, but that made me laugh.
‘You make me laugh, guys, honestly. Shut the f*** up and do the right thing on the pitch.
‘Against Brighton I was so p**ed off about the behaviour of the players that I wished I could be in the dressing room to say to someone, “Shut the f* up, who the f** do you think you are?” No one is doing that in the team. There are no leaders, no characters.
‘They were winning one-nil away from home, knowing every point is vital for European qualification, and you let the game go like this.
‘Then at full-time they go to Maupay to blame him for what happened to Bernd Leno, but things like that happen in every game.
‘They’re trying to avoid taking their own responsibility. I just want to tell them one thing: fight during the match. Do your job.
‘I wish Mikel Arteta good luck because I think he’s a quality manager but just like Unai Emery and Wenger, what is he supposed to do with these players?’