Little has changed since yesterday as Arsenal tick down the hours until the deadline for extending contracts and loans. The club has to decide whether David Luiz, Cedric Soares, Dani Ceballos, and Pablo Mari will remain at the club through the end of the season or will walk when their contracts expire at the end of the month.
Here’s where everything stands as of posting — we’ll be updating as news breaks.
UPDATE, 3:00 PM: Mikel Arteta expects all four players to extend their stay. He said he’d always wanted permanent deals for Mari and Soares.
- Cedric Soares: Arsenal are expected to extend his loan deal today. Technically, Southampton will extend his current contract through the end of the season, and then the clubs will extend the loan. Per James Olley at ESPN, Arsenal would like to sign Soares to a new, three-year contract. Mikel Arteta likes what he has seen in training and feels that a veteran presence (Soares is 28) will have a positive influence on Arsenal’s young core.
- David Luiz: UPDATE, 2:45 PM: reports are that he has signed a new contract at the club with confirmation expected later tonight on term and wages. His status is the most up in the air of the four players on deadline. Paraphrasing Football.London’s James Benge from a webchat earlier today, “I’ve got no idea whether he will stay or go.” The reports are all over the place. Mikel Arteta would like him to stay. Luiz and his agent want a new, two-year deal. Arsenal are likely most concerned about cost control and only want to give him a one-year contract.
- Dani Ceballos: the Spanish midfielder is expected to extend his stay at the Emirates through the end of the season, but beyond that, is understood to want a move back to a Spanish side. If he could be persuaded to remain in England, it wouldn’t be the worst move for Arsenal to sign him on a permanent transfer, for the right price of course.
- Pablo Mari: as we said yesterday, whether he extends by tonight’s deadline doesn’t really matter because he is out for several months with an ankle ligament injury. According to reports out of Brazil, Arsenal will or have already exercised their option to buy, but that has not been officially confirmed by the club or the “in the know” journalists.
We are also monitoring Arsenal’s keeper situation. Arsenal were expected to give an update on Bernd Leno’s injury today, but there hasn’t been any news. UPDATE: James Benge tweeted that “Bernd Leno’s injury is not as bad as first feared, although he may well not play again this season.” UPDATE #2, 2:45 PM: Leno has a moderate ligament sprain and will be out 4 to 6 weeks.
Arsenal have been linked to Barcelona’s Neto, a Kia Joorabchian client, with a £18.5M price tag. Claudio Bravo and Joe Hart, both out of contract at the end of the season, have also been mentioned as experienced, cheap, short-term cover.