David Luiz has explained his reasons for swapping west London for north London after joining Arsenal from rivals Chelsea on transfer deadline day, revealing that his “cycle” at Stamford Bridge had finished and that he was ready for a fresh challenge at a “big club”.
The Brazilian completed the most surprising move of deadline day after Arsenal only first expressed interest in the former Chelsea defender on Wednesday night - the penultimate day of the transfer window.
But after completing a medical with the Gunners on Thursday, the acquisition of Luiz was finally announced shortly after the transfer window shut, with Arsenal successfully lodging their deal sheet with Chelsea to the Premier League before the 5pm deadline.
Luiz is not the first player to make the move from Chelsea to Arsenal as he follows in the footsteps of Petr Cech, William Gallas and Lassana Diarra, but it remains nonetheless the shock of the summer.
“It’s a great feeling,” the 32-year-old told Arsenal.com. “It’s a new cycle in my life, in my career as a footballer. I’m excited to play for this big club. I grew up watching a lot of Arsenal games, especially the great players from the past, so I’m excited to try to help this club to do some big things.
“The cycle finished there. It was a conversation between me and Chelsea and everybody. I had an opportunity to come to another big club. In my life, I’ve always liked to do some challenges. I’m not scared at all to try things. I think not too many players would make this kind of move, they would maybe be scared, or something like that. I’m just trying to do big things in my life, so like I said, my cycle at Chelsea finished and now I’m excited to start a new chapter of my life here.
“It’s a big club - not just in England, but everybody around the world knows how big Arsenal is. When I had an opportunity to come to this kind of big club, I had to take it. That’s why I’m here.”
It’s understood that Luiz feared he would be dropped from the Chelsea first team by new manager Frank Lampard - his former teammate at Stamford Bridge - which triggered his desire to pursue a move this summer.
But he will also be able to share a number of pre-season secrets with his new Arsenal teammates, which could potentially help them in the club’s pursuit to return to the Premier League top four.
Luiz is not the only new name at the Emirates Stadium, either. A busy summer saw Arsenal break their transfer record by signing Ivory Coast winger Nicolas Pepe from Lille in a £72m deal, while Kieran Tierney joined from Celtic in a £25m deadline-day deal.They were joined by Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos on a season-long loan and young Brazilian winger Gabriel Martinelli, while French defender William Saliba will join next summer as he spends the season on loan at St Etienne.
However, it was two existing players who Luiz revealed he was most looking forward to playing with, given that he will no longer have to face the dangerous duo of Alex Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
“It has to be the strikers!” he added. “It was always this openings I had to try to stop. I’m happy now that I can have Lacazette and Aubameyang on my side, so it’s much easier now!
“I think it’s a great squad with a lot of quality and I just hope me, Dani Ceballos and Pepe can give a lot for this squad, for this club, to improve and to help everybody.”
Luiz was also persuaded to move to Arsenal due to his existing relationship with manager Unai Emery, who coached the centre-back during their time at Paris Saint-Germain.
“(It played) a big, big part. I know him, I know some people from the club. I know Edu, I know Raul (Sanllehi), I know the quality of the team, the players, and that’s what makes me excited to dream, to have the ambition to win big things.
“I think all my life, I’ve always started the season with the goal to win things. It’s not going to be different here - I’m going to come with this mentality because this is what made me move here. This is what makes me feel good every single day. I have to run for one reason, for one goal, and my goal is to win things with Arsenal.”