Arsenal suffer injury blow which could impact Mikel Arteta transfer plans

Arsenal defender David Luiz is a doubt for their opening game of the season against Fulham after injuring his neck in the Community Shield win over Liverpool.

Despite a number of high-profile errors last season, Luiz has retained the confidence of manager Mikel Arteta and is one of the first names on his team-sheet.

Luiz is also crucial to the 3-4-2-1 formation Arteta has settled on in recent months.

But Arteta could be forced to adjust his plans after Luiz hurt his neck in last month’s win over Liverpool and it flared up again in training this week.

According to The Athletic, Luiz is having treatment in the hope of minimising the injury but if it fails to work he could be out for six weeks.

Arsenal already have Shkodran Mustafi and Pablo Mari on the treatment table while Calum Chambers is still some weeks away from a return after a serious knee injury.

Arsenal do have options if Luiz is ruled out with summer arrivals William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes in training and ready to be pressed into action.

The most likely starter in central defence is Rob Holding, who had appeared set to join Newcastle on loan.

But Arteta is now set to keep the 24-year-old at the Emirates this season.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos is expected to leave before the transfer window closes with Napoli his most likely destination.

Meanwhile, Dani Ceballos has opened up about his decision to return to Arsenal on loan for a second consecutive season and explained how Arteta has made him a better player.

Prior to the break for the coronavirus pandemic, Ceballos was becoming an increasingly influential figure and that was confirmed after the hiatus as he appeared in every game and formed a strong partnership with Granit Xhaka in central midfield.

And Ceballos hailed Arteta for being honest with him and says a chat with the manager earlier in the year was the catalyst for his improvement.

“To be honest, it wasn’t easy for him because he was coming into a dressing room that had already had two other coaches and where the team hadn’t been able to get the results that everyone wanted,” Ceballos told Arsenal.com.

“It wasn’t easy for me to get into the team either because I was coming off the back of a long injury lay-off.

“I felt like I should be playing but I was wrong about that because I wasn’t fit.

“The coach was really straight with me and said that if I got myself fit and kept working hard, I’d have a chance of getting back into the team.

“I ended up performing well and repaying the faith he’d shown in me before the Newcastle game. From that moment onwards, we started to build a good coach/player bond and things went well for me personally.

“I think he’s made me a much better player in the last six months.”

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