Why Arsenal signing David Luiz from Chelsea is a mistake – Keown | Football | Sport
Gunners boss Unai Emery had made it a priory to strengthen his defence during the summer window after he had seen his side finish fifth in the Premier League last season and conceded 51 goals in the process.
The urgency of finding another centre-back was important given the injuries to young defenders Konstantinos Mavropanos, who is receiving from a groin in jury and, Rob Holding, who has only recently resumed training on a knee injury.
The situation was made worse when talks over a new contract broke down with then club captain Laurent Koscielny who subsequently refused to travel with the team on their pre-season tour of the United States.
The 33-year-old was subsequently sold to Ligue 1 side Bordeaux for a reported fee of €5m (£4.6m).
And with a gap in the Arsenal defence needing urgently to be filled, Luiz was willing to make the switch between the rival teams and reunite with Emery – the Brazilian defender had briefly worked with the Spaniard while at Paris Saint-Germain.
However, Keown feels the 32-year-old could actually be a problem following his exit from Stamford Bridge.
“I was concerned and I made my feelings known at the time,” Keown told talkSPORT.
“I felt that we’d be taking a problem from Chelsea.
“Frank Lampard was in that dressing room wasn’t he, and you could say it was a little bit toxic.
“[Maurizio] Sarri last year said they were difficult to motivate, and it looks like Lampard has weeded out David Luiz.
“Arsenal are then taking a player with a little bit of baggage.”
However, the former England defender doesn’t see the transfer of Luiz as a completely negative one and admits the centre-back will bring some benefits to his new team-mates at the Emirates.
“I do feel Arsenal play it out from the back and that will suit David Luiz, that will be a good plus, but he’s not a top defender,” Keown added.
“He’s not an out-and-out defender, work is going to have to be done with him.
“And what sort of person is he? Is he a leader and is he the right influence in the dressing room?
“He’s good value with the money they paid for him and Arsenal were in a position where they had to get defenders in, but it’s a gamble.”