In Brief

Chelsea bombshell: David Luiz to join Arsenal in dramatic deadline day deal

Former Gunner Martin Keown has warned Unai Emery that the Brazilian defender is ‘too high risk’

The Sun calls it an “exit bombshell” while The Times goes for a more restrained “dramatic move”.

But whatever one’s take on the news that David Luiz is on the brink of signing for Arsenal it’s a late development few expected.

The Gunners are “desperately” in need of another centre-half, says The Sun, after Laurent Koscielny joined Bordeaux earlier in the week.

With Koscielny now gone Arsenal boss Unai Emery has lined up 32-year-old Luiz, whom he coached when they were together at Paris Saint-Germain. 

Bargain price

Luiz only has one year left on his Stamford Bridge contract so apparently Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is ready to sanction his sale.

The new Blues boss is confident he can rely on Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta and Fikayo Tomori. 

BBC Sport reports this morning that Chelsea and Arsenal have agreed an £8m fee for Luiz. The defender will sign a two-year deal and have a medical today.

Bust-ups at the Bridge

The Daily Mirror suggests that Luiz will quit Stamford Bridge “after a string of explosive rows”, initiated when the South American realised he isn’t part of Lampard’s plans for the coming season.

A source told the Mirror that Luiz has been “acting up” since the club’s return from a pre-season tour to Austria last week, and he is now “at war with the club as he tries to force a move to the Emirates”.

Luiz trained by himself on Wednesday at Chelsea’s training ground, although The Times says that the Blues have insisted he was not “on strike”. 

The Times also notes that Luiz has a habit of switching clubs late in the transfer window, having moved to Chelsea from Benfica on deadline day in January 2011 and again in August 2016, when he rejoined from PSG.

Word of warning

Writing in the Daily Mail, former Arsenal defender Martin Keown offered a word of warning to his old club as they ponder making a move for Luiz. 

“If I was at Arsenal and had the ear of Unai Emery, I would be advising my manager not to sign David Luiz,” said Keown. “Walk away from this deal. This is not the defender for you. It’s too high risk.”

Keown said that Luiz’s defensive deficiencies were shielded at Chelsea by the industry of N’Golo Kante in front of the back line, but it would be a different story at the Emirates. 

“In possession, Luiz is a wonderful passer, but he makes mistakes when playing as part of a back four,” said Keown. 

“He has a tendency to lose his marker and is one of those all-or-nothing players - if he doesn’t win the ball in a challenge, then congratulations because you’re in.” 

Newspaper headlines

Today’s back pages: David Luiz and Wilfried Zaha want out on deadline day

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