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‘Arsenal bought a problem in Luiz & must drop him’ – Keown calls for change on & off the field

9:22 AM EST 11/30/19
David Luiz Arsenal 2019-20
The former Gunners defender is not convinced that a Brazilian centre-half has anything to offer, but supports the decision to move on from Unai Emery

Arsenal “bought a problem” when acquiring David Luiz from Chelsea, says Martin Keown, with the former Gunners defender calling on interim boss Freddie Ljungberg, and whoever is appointed as successor to Unai Emery, to drop the divisive Brazilian centre-half.

Having endured struggles at the back for some time, the Gunners opted to bring in a proven winner when raiding the ranks of a Premier League rival.

Luiz tasted domestic and European success across two spells at Stamford Bridge, but earned as many critics as he did admirers with a playing style that leaves itself open to costly errors.

The 32-year-old is not considered to have changed his ways at Emirates Stadium, with Arsenal still springing leaks, and Keown believes a change in the dugout needs to lead to more on the field.

The former Arsenal star told talkSPORT: “I wouldn’t be playing David Luiz in the Arsenal team now if I was anything to do with the coaching staff at the club.

“It’s very difficult to question it from a medical point of view when somebody goes off injured, but I don’t feel with bruised ribs that you go off in a game of that importance to the manager.

“He drops so deep that he’s killing the whole team. He hasn’t got a defensive bone in his body and Arsenal went and bought him to solve their issues at the back.

“By taking David Luiz, Arsenal just bought a problem from Chelsea.

“That was the beginning of the end for Emery in the summer, because he didn’t address the problems Arsene Wenger left behind. They’re still not solid enough.”

Ljungberg is the man charged with the task of delivering an upturn in fortune for Arsenal when they travel to Norwich on Sunday, with the Swede placed in caretaker charge.

Keown is relieved to have seen Emery’s difficult reign in north London brought to a close, but still has concerns when it comes to the Gunners board and the direction in which they are taking the club.

He added: “It’s actually a relief the board has actually made the decision.

“Arsenal have become very sad, they’ve become a shambles and it’s time for the club to get its identity back. We’ve lost our way, we’re just not competitive and it’s very serious. We’ve got huge problems.

“If you look at it in terms of recruitment, Ivan Gazidis only really had to make one decision in the 10 years he was at Arsenal, and he got it wrong (choosing Emery as Arsene Wenger’s successor in May 2018).

“The managerial structure at Arsenal, I don’t know if it’s in disarray, but we have an ageing board and maybe this is an opportunity for the club to address that.

“Of course there’s a lot of wisdom in our board, and I respect that, but it’s about energy and a new direction for Arsenal.”