The Gunners are keen to add a centre-back to their ranks before Thursday’s transfer deadline and could now swoop for the Brazil international
David Luiz has sensationally skipped Chelsea training on the penultimate day of the transfer window as Arsenal consider a move for the defender.
The Brazil international was expected at the Blues’ Cobham training ground as normal on Wednesday ahead of Sunday’s Premier League opener against Manchester United.
But Goal can confirm the former Paris Saint-Germain star was nowhere to be seen, with the Gunners understood to be keen on bringing him to the Emirates Stadium.
No official bid has been placed yet, but with Arsenal running out of time to bolster their defence ahead of the transfer window closing for Premier League clubs at 5pm BST (12pm ET) on Thursday and considering David Luiz’s actions, it would be surprising if negotiations were not opened.
The Gunners have been in the market for a centre-back all summer, and despite signing William Saliba, his loan move back to Saint-Etienne has seen them push to try to sign RB Leipzig’s £70 million-rated Dayot Upamecano and Juventus’ Daniele Rugani.
Laurent Koscielny’s departure for Bordeaux has only hastened their need for reinforcements at the heart of their backline as Unai Emery looks to build on a fifth-placed finish last term.
However, they are now set to turn their attentions towards David Luiz, with the club’s new technical director Edu understood to be close to the 32-year-old’s entourage.
David Luiz also has a close relationship with Arsenal boss Emery after working with him at PSG in between his two spells at Stamford Bridge.
This development comes despite Luiz having only just agreed to sign a new two-year contract in west London in May following protracted negotiations lasting several months.
The deal was the first two-year contract to be offered to a soccer professional over the age of 30 since 2011 after a policy was implemented to restrict older players to one-year rolling agreements.
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In terms of how David Luiz’s potential departure would leave Frank Lampard’s defensive options, it may scupper Fikayo Tomori’s prospective loan move to Everton, with the former Derby County loanee likely required to fill the gap left in the squad alongside Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma.
Only Zouma played more minutes as a centre-back than David Luiz during Lampard’s first pre-season in charge of the club, though the ex-Benfica star was left out of the starting line-up for the club’s final friendly of the summer against Borussia Monchengladbach.
Additional reporting by Charles Watts.