Arsenal have signed David Luiz, Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares to new contracts, while they’ve extended the loan of Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid and given an injury update on Gabriel Martinelli and Bernd Leno.
In short: it is busy as heck for the Gunners right now.
Mikel Arteta takes his banged-up Arsenal squad to Southampton on Thursday (start time, 1pm ET on Peacock and online via NBCSports.com) as they hope to rebound from defeats to Man City and Brighton to open up project restart.
Luiz has signed a one-year contract extension, while loanee Pablo Mari has signed permanently from Flamengo on a four-year contract and Cedric Soares has the same situation as Mari as both will be permanent Arsenal players when the transfer window opens. Ceballos has signed a short-term loan extension from Real Madrid so he can play for Arsenal until the 2019-20 season ends.
On injury news, Granit Xhaka and Sokratis could play at Southampton, while Bernd Leno’s injury isn’t as bad as first feared.
“Well we thought it was going to be a more significant injury, we don’t know the extent of the injury still but at least we know the cruciate ligaments are not damaged. That was the biggest fear at the start. He was more positive and in less pain today so that’s good news,” Arteta said.
The most negative news amongst all of this is that talented Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Arteta revealed that Martinelli, 19, injured his knee in the final moments of training on Monday and could be out for many months.
“Yeah, we had some really bad news again yesterday. In training in the last action he got hit by another player and he’s damaged his knee. The doctor is assessing the extent of the injury, but it’s not looking good at all. We don’t know (how long he’s going to be out for), but it’s looking like months,” Arteta said.
Arsenal currently sit six points off fifth place, which is widely expected to be a UEFA Champions League spot due to Man City’s UEFA ban. Now that there’s some certainty about Arteta’s squad, he can settle things down but there’s still a lot going on.
Will Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette leave this summer? Will they make further defensive reinforcements or rely on youngster William Saliba to stand tall for the 2020-21 season? How long will Emiliano Martinez have to stand in for Leno in goal?
Arteta is battling against a lot of injuries, contract situations and frustration from fans. So, in short, this is no different than the Arsenal of the last 10 years. He has brought a newfound spirit and grit to this Arsenal side and they will need that in the final few weeks if they’re going to at least challenge for the FA Cup and qualify for Europe.