Mikel Arteta is not ruling out David Luiz receiving a new deal at Arsenal and reminded those players on expiring contracts that they can earn an extension through their performances on the pitch. 

David Luiz made his return from a spell out with illness in Saturday's FA Cup third-round clash with Newcastle United, playing 120 minutes in what was just his third appearance since the start of December. 

The 33-year-old has also missed time due to a hamstring problem and a head injury this season, limiting him to 14 outings in all competitions. 

Among defenders to have made at least 40 Premier League appearances since the start of last season, David Luiz is among a group to have kept the fewest clean sheets (eight, along with Adam Webster, Lucas Digne and Yerry Mina). 

However, Arsenal have only conceded 47 goals while he has been on the pitch, with only Virgil van Dijk (44), Serge Aurier (42) and Kyle Walker (35) shipping fewer. 

David Luiz's contract at Emirates Stadium will expire at the end of the season but Arteta suggested he could yet play his way into an offer of fresh terms. 

"David had a really difficult season because he had three different things that have kept him away from training and games, which is unusual because he's normally he's always available," said Arteta. 

"He had to deal with that and then he had to play 120 minutes and I think he was exceptional, just the way he handled the game against a difficult number nine like Andy Carroll and to play for 120 minutes as well at his age with not much was a real test and I really like what he did. 

"He is fantastic. He's one of the leaders in the dressing room. He's one of the most experienced players and he's won everything in the game.

"He is so good with the young kids. When you look at people who can help and be a role model, he is always with them, he is always supporting them, giving them confidence and advice. It is great to have someone like him around.

"We will see what happens. There's a lot of things happening around the club. A lot of decisions to make. I don't want to rush any decisions. I just want players to be focused.

"They know they have six months left or eight months left, some of them a year, they know their contracts are like that and we can't change them right now. I think it's time to be focused.

"We've been through a difficult period in the last few weeks and I just want people to focus on football. If you do what you have to do on the football pitch you will deserve the chance to keep with us if this is what you want."

Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Mesut Ozil are only contracted to Arsenal until the end of the season, while Dani Ceballos' loan deal will end at that point.

Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, Calum Chambers and Mohamed Elneny are on deals that run until June 2022.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta lauded Thomas Partey and his impact as the star midfielder prepares to return for the Gunners.

Partey has been restricted to just six matches for Arsenal since arriving from LaLiga side Atletico Madrid in a £45million deal three months ago.

Only one of those appearances has come in the last two months, having aggravated a thigh injury in Arsenal's 2-0 loss to London rivals Tottenham in December.

However, Partey is back in contention for Thursday's Premier League clash with Crystal Palace and Arteta is excited to be able to call upon one of his key men once again.

"I think he's got a different presence - he brings something different to the team," Arteta said. "It's not just about his talent, it's not just about his physicality, it's who he is as a person. 

"He makes players better around him and that's a big, big quality.

"It's incredible that we are in January, we signed him in October and we have only played him [a handful of times]."

Partey has completed 2.6 dribbles per 90 minutes in his five Premier League outings and attempted 3.25 tackles per game, which no other Arsenal player can match.

And though the north London side have won only one of those five matches, compared to six victories in 12 league games without him, Arteta admitted Arsenal have missed the midfielder's presence.

"We haven't really seen the impact he could have on the team. Obviously we have missed him. I think it's going to be a big bonus if we can keep him fit," he said.

"When you are injured you feel first of all the responsibility when the club has made the effort we made to sign him.

"He was so willing for months to be joining us. He really wants to be a part of it and knows how much he can help. 

"Then he had to deal with the injuries, with the lockdown and moving into a new place, and that's been tough for him.

"That's why sometimes he was rushing and wanted to do everything straight away, because he's so willing to come back, he doesn't want to be alone at home. 

"He's in a really good place, he's settled really well in the dressing room, around the staff. He's a special character and hopefully we can see him on the pitch finally."

Arsenal are looking to sign a new goalkeeper in the transfer window, Mikel Arteta has confirmed.

Having sold Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa in September in a reported £20million deal, the Gunners have gone through the season with Bernd Leno and Alex Runarsson, signed from Dijon last year, as their senior keepers.

Runarsson has made four appearances in the Europa League and just one in domestic competition, in the EFL Cup against Manchester City, when he made two mistakes in a 4-1 defeat at Emirates Stadium in December.

The Iceland international could be allowed to leave on loan this month as Arteta explores options to bolster the position, with third-choice Matt Macey having now joined Hibernian.

"We are assessing the situation with the three positions on the goalkeeping area and we will find a different solution, probably in this window," Arteta said on Monday.

"We are assessing what is going to happen with the three positions, the discussions we had in the summer within the club are a little bit different to what actually happened because of the transfer window and the situation that developed with Emi.

"We didn't have much time to do what we really wanted to do and we decided to assess the situation in this window, which is what we are trying to do and we will make a decision on how we want to move forward in those three positions."

Arteta is still waiting for news on the future of Mesut Ozil, who is expected to leave the Gunners this month, with Fenerbahce and MLS side DC United most heavily linked.

"My understanding is that nothing has changed from the last press conference," he said. "[Technical director] Edu and the club are having some conversations about the near future and the long-term future and when we know something, we will announce it.

"It's always difficult to handle this situation when you are left out of the squad. It's been difficult for everybody to have players who weren't in the squad – it wasn't only him – because you need them motivated, training well and being part of what we are trying to do and they don't feel like they can contribute to that. It's always tricky. We have tried to manage that in the best possible way."

Arteta, who was not willing to discuss rumours linking the club with Diego Costa and Emiliano Buendia, hopes to have Thomas Partey fully fit for Thursday's Premier League clash with Crystal Palace.

The Gunners boss is awaiting further updates on Gabriel Martinelli, who had a scan on an ankle problem on Monday.

"We don't know how bad he is," he said of the striker. "He's getting a scan this morning. We didn't look after the game [a 2-0 win over Newcastle United in the FA Cup] because he was in a lot of pain but yesterday he tested it a little bit better, so let's hope. We have a scan today so let's hope it's not as serious and we can have Gabi back really soon."

Gabriel Martinelli is set to for a scan on the ankle injury sustained prior to Arsenal's FA Cup win over Newcastle United, with boss Mikel Arteta describing himself as "gutted" by the forward's latest setback.

The Brazilian was a late withdrawal from Arsenal's starting XI for the third-round tie at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, which the Gunners won 2-0 after extra-time, and replaced by Reiss Nelson.

Martinelli has only recently returned from a serious knee injury sustained in June and Arteta said the teenager was in tears when providing an update on his condition after the match.

"I am gutted. I was in my office before the game and one of the coaches came in and told me that Gabi had hurt himself, that he'd twisted his ankle," Arteta said.

"I went to the medical room and he was in tears. He was in a lot of pain and we're going to have to see how he is. It didn't look good. He was in pain so I imagine that we're not going to have good news with him.

"We really want to know what's going on. He's a character and he wants to play the next game. He doesn't care and can handle pain but I don't know. Hopefully there is nothing too serious but to start with, it didn't look too good."

Emile Smith Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were on target in the additional minutes but only after Bernd Leno had made a fine late stop from Andy Carroll to force extra time.

"We had to be patient," added Arteta, who has won all seven of the FA Cup ties he has overseen as Arsenal boss including last season's final triumph over Chelsea. 

"They are a team who are well-organised and make it hard for you. We had the chances I think, very big chances to score much earlier but when you don't do that, the game is open.

"If you don't do that in your box, you need your keeper in a key moment - like it happened after the corner kick on the counter - to save you.

"Bernd did it in a magnificent way and at the end we scored two and deserved to go through."

Emile Smith Rowe has the "huge potential" to match the exploits of young England stars Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho, according to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

The Gunners begin their FA Cup defence at home to Newcastle United on Saturday, buoyed by a sharp upturn in their Premier League form.

A dominant 3-1 London derby win over Chelsea on Boxing Day sparked an ongoing three-match winning run.

Smith Rowe was handed a starting berth in that game and has kept his place after impressing in the number 10 role, with the 20-year-old giving Arteta's team an overdue shot of creative intent.

In 2017, Smith Rowe was part of the England squad that won the U17 World Cup, with Foden named player of the tournament.

Sancho featured during the group stages before being called back to club action by Borussia Dortmund, and Arteta acknowledged the duo are ahead of Smith Rowe in their development.

"He has huge potential. He really wants it and he has the personality when he goes on the field to express and play the way he can play," said Arteta, who coached Foden and - more briefly - Sancho at Manchester City as part of Pep Guardiola's backroom staff.

"To do it in a consistent way is a different thing. The boys that you mentioned, they've done it. It's true that they're ahead in their development phase because they've played many more minutes and games in the last two seasons.

"But he is capable of doing that. Whether he's going to do it will depend on how he continues to develop, how he takes the chance that he has in front of him and how much we can help him to achieve that."

Underwhelming loan stints at RB Leipzig and Huddersfield Town in the past two years preceded a pre-season shoulder injury, but a player dubbed "The Croydon De Bruyne" by some Arsenal fans has shown he is ready to make up for lost time.

"A lot of things have happened to him in the past year," Arteta acknowledged. "He needs to establish himself here, he needs to be successful here, he needs to really find his role and his position in the team and in the club.

"That will help him to have clear path. We really believe in him. He needs to have no fear and go for it, because he has the quality."

That quality has certainly been to the fore this season, with Smith Rowe's four assists coming at a rate of one every 93.5 minutes across seven appearances in all competitions.

With the youngster in the side, Arsenal average 2.9 goals per game. The 4-1 Europa League triumph over Rapid Vienna – in which he scored – was one of six victories Smith Rowe has been involved in this term, amounting to a win percentage of 85.7 per cent that plummets to 40 in the 20 games he spent as a spectator.

It feels infeasible that Arteta will leave him out of such a large proportion of games again but the former Emirates Stadium skipper pointed towards the examples of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, who completed an exciting attacking midfield trident alongside Smith Rowe against Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion, when discussing how younger players must have their workloads managed.

That could mean some stints playing in different positions, as Saka has during his fledgling Arsenal career, although Arteta cannot deny the much-needed lift his breakthrough stars have given Arsenal, even as he tries to manage expectations.

"Sometimes a team is a little bit concerned and has some fear because of the results, because of the pressure," he added, before noting the impact through "enthusiasm" the younger members of his squad have had.

"I think they were really helpful because they were re-energising to the team. They pushed the team into a different direction and a different rhythm as well.

"But, of course, the young players need that solidity, experience and maturity that the older players bring. It's a good combination."

Mikel Arteta knows how he wants to improve Arsenal's squad this month but warned the transfer market is "very complicated" in the current climate.

Julian Brandt is among the reported targets for the Gunners during the January window, although Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc insisted there had been "no offers at all" for the midfielder.

Arsenal boss Arteta this week revealed Mesut Ozil could be on the move after DC United and Fenerbahce were linked with the out-of-favour playmaker.

The London club allowed Sead Kolasinac to return to Schalke, but there has been very little transfer activity just over a week since the window opened.

Arteta would like to do get his business done early in the window, but in a week that saw Arsenal take a short-term £120million Bank of England loan due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis, the Spaniard is being realistic with his expectations.

Asked about the prospect of making early signings, he said ahead of the FA Cup third round tie with Newcastle United on Saturday: "I don't know. At the moment the market is really complicated and the situation around every club is not easy.

"To get the negotiations going it's not easy, it makes it harder because you can't be face-to-face and you cannot travel to another country to make that happen, it has to be on the phone or Zoom.

"It can go either way. I can tell you what I would like, with the players out and in sorted, but I think it's really complicated."

Arteta says it is important to understand that players may want to move on due to the pandemic.

He added: "It's affecting everything. It's affecting things transfers financially, it's also affecting some players who are here and they are stuck here for a year and realise 'I need to go back home, I need my family to be happy, to be next to me'.

"It's a bit of a mixture, but players are experiencing different feelings that probably are new to them and that's why I keep insisting this virus is about mental health as well as how you are feeling physically. Mental health is a big, big thing that we have to pay more attention to."

One player who has arrived at Arsenal is 19-year-old defender Omar Rekik, who joins the under-23 squad from Hertha Berlin.

Mesut Ozil's Arsenal career looks set to end in the "next few days", with a decision on his future expected soon, according to Mikel Arteta.

Reports emerged this week claiming Ozil was in talks with MLS franchise DC United and Turkish side Fenerbahce, whom the former Real Madrid star is said to have supported as a child.

Ozil joined Arsenal from Los Blancos in 2013 and provided 54 assists in 184 Premier League appearances for the club – in the same period, only Kevin De Bruyne (74), David Silva (63) and Christian Eriksen (62) have created more goals than the German World Cup winner.

However, he has laid on just two since the start of 2019-20, as he fell out of favour again under Arteta despite the Spaniard initially appearing set on building the team around Ozil.

With his contract up at the end of the season, the 32-year-old is now able to negotiate a free transfer, though for any deal to go through this month, Arsenal will need to be involved in negotiations.

Reports in Turkey have claimed a deal with Fenerbahce has already been agreed, and while Arteta would not confirm whether this was the truth, he did state a decision is expected very soon.

"I don't know what's going to happen," Arteta told reporters on Thursday. "Now he's free to negotiate with other clubs, we will discuss internally the best situation for him, for the near future, with the player and the agent and try to find the best solution for everybody.

"Every player wants to play football, this is why we picked this profession. We are so lucky to be doing what we do, so for every player not playing, it is hard.

"We will decide what happens in the next few days."

Ozil's position at Arsenal has long been a source of contention, with some supporters adamant he should not have been excluded from the Premier League squad at the start of the season, while others have routinely urged him to leave for his own good but to also release the Gunners from the pressure of his substantial wages.

Arteta appeared optimistic about the situation, though did accept Ozil could yet stay for the time being.

"If something is sorted this month it's because it's good for both parties; good for Mesut and his future, and good for the club," he continued.

"If that's the case, we will move forward. If it's not the case, the player will remain here.

"He's been training with us, but he had some days [off] because we decided to give him some days for something personal, but he's been training with us all the time.

"We are aware of all the conversations with Mesut internally and his agent, and this communication keeps going. From now on he's free to talk to any club."

Mikel Arteta believes Kieran Tierney could go on to become Arsenal captain, with the former Celtic full-back having been in superb form lately.

Tierney has played in all but one of Arsenal's 17 league matches this season and opened his account for the campaign with a wonderful goal against West Brom on Saturday.

The 23-year-old cut inside from the left flank and curled a brilliant finish beyond Sam Johnstone to open the scoring, before then going on to tee up Alexandre Lacazette's second goal in a 4-0 rout of Sam Allardyce's woeful Baggies.

It was a third successive victory for Arsenal, who have turned their fortunes around after a seven-game winless streak in the top flight.

Since the start of December, no defender in the league has created more chances than Tierney (15), while Andy Robertson (29), Aaron Cresswell (25), Trent Alexander-Arnold (23) and Joao Cancelo (22) are the only defenders to have crafted more opportunities than the Scotland international's tally of 21 this term.

Tierney had experience of captaining Celtic prior to his move to Arsenal in 2019, and Arteta has seen plenty of leadership qualities in the left-back.

"I think he can be," Arteta told a news conference when asked if Tierney could go on to captain the Gunners.

"He has the respect and admiration of every member of the staff and every player. It's just the way he is, he does it in a natural way. He's a really shy boy as well but I think he represents all of the values we want to install and that are in the DNA of this football club.

"In both [attack and defence] he can do really well. He can still improve but he's been really good in attack and really solid defensively, so it's the kind of contribution we need from the full-backs.

"He's shy, so humble as well. He came here, it took him a while, he had a really bad injury and was away from home, but he's a natural leader.

"You see how he behaves on the pitch, and when he talks he says the right thing. It's exactly what we look for and I am so pleased to have him in the team."

While Tierney is starting to hit his stride in the Premier League, Arsenal have also been boosted by Lacazette's return to form.

After going almost three months without a league goal, Lacazette scored Arsenal's opener from the penalty spot in a 3-1 win over Chelsea on Boxing Day, before netting the winner against Brighton and Hove Albion and helping himself to a double at West Brom.

Lacazette is now on seven top-flight goals for 2020-21, with five coming away from home – his best such tally in the competition.

The former Lyon forward has netted half of the 12 big chances he has been presented with, which is a better conversion rate than the likes of Sadio Mane, Marcus Rashford and team-mate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Lacazette's contract is set to run out in 2022, and although Arteta has been delighted with the Frenchman's performances, any talks will be held off until the end of this season.

"We haven't talked about anything related to his contract," Arteta said.

"I'm delighted with the way he's performing, both that he's scoring and the form and energy that he's having at the moment, so he needs to keep doing that.

"We will talk in the summer and make a decision then."

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal can play with freedom now they have turned the corner on their dismal run of form.

The Gunners made it three Premier League wins in the space of eight days with a 4-0 triumph against struggling West Bromwich Albion at a snow-covered Hawthorns.

Alexandre Lacazette hit a second-half double in the space of four minutes to send Arsenal 11th in the table, after Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka had opened up a half-time lead.

The three-win streak puts an end to a run of seven matches without a victory and Arteta hopes he has seen the back of his team's miserable stretch of results.

"I hope so, at least the energy and the convincing momentum that you get from everybody that is involved, it's much more positive," Arteta said.

"At the end of the day, I wasn't that concerned with the performances.

"I think we lost games when we were really unlucky and most of them it was our own fault because we made some errors and we lack some discipline in certain moments.

"But you need to win football matches and now this brings a different momentum, a different energy, and now the players get the handbrake off and you can see that they are more free to play."

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal can play with freedom now they have turned the corner on their dismal run of form.

The Gunners made it three Premier League wins in the space of eight days with a 4-0 triumph against struggling West Bromwich Albion at a snow-covered Hawthorns.

Alexandre Lacazette hit a second-half double in the space of four minutes to send Arsenal 11th in the table, after Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka had opened up a half-time lead.

The three-win streak puts an end to a run of seven matches without a victory and Arteta hopes he has seen the back of his team's miserable stretch of results.

"I hope so, at least the energy and the convincing momentum that you get from everybody that is involved, it's much more positive," Arteta said.

"At the end of the day, I wasn't that concerned with the performances.

"I think we lost games when we were really unlucky and most of them it was our own fault because we made some errors and we lack some discipline in certain moments.

"But you need to win football matches and now this brings a different momentum, a different energy, and now the players get the handbrake off and you can see that they are more free to play."

Mikel Arteta gave a more positive outlook on Arsenal's season after victory over West Brom secured a third straight win and moved his side to within six points of the top four.

Just 10 days after West Brom coach Sam Allardyce claimed Arsenal were "absolutely" in a relegation battle, the Gunners swept the former England manager's struggling outfit aside to climb 12 points clear of the drop zone.

The Baggies were no match for the team Allardyce had considered their rivals to beat the drop, conceding sublime first-half strikes to Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka and then a clumsy second-half brace to Alexandre Lacazette.

While West Brom became the first team to lose consecutive Premier League home games by at least four goals since Wigan Athletic in 2010, Arsenal claimed a third straight victory, having won just two of their prior 12 matches.

Wins over Chelsea, Brighton and Hove Albion and now West Brom have come in quick succession over the festive period, lifting spirits at Emirates Stadium.

"I'm so happy that we were able to achieve the target that we had," Arteta told BT Sport.

"The table looks completely different, the energy around the place is much better, and wins bring a lot of confidence. You can see that today in the performance and the way the team played."

The game was played on a snow-covered pitch at The Hawthorns, which Arteta felt caused Arsenal problems even as they monopolised 61.6 per cent of the possession and had 21 attempts to West Brom's seven.

Arteta said: "It was a very convincing win. To win the last three games in the Christmas period in the Premier League is not easy.

"I think today, in phases when the weather was better and the conditions to play were better, we played some great football.

"At the end, we had to manage in certain moments as well the conditions and the way we played because the pitch was really difficult."

Tierney was a standout performer from left-back, covering 10.56 kilometres, and had no such concerns about the conditions.

"It is what it is," he said. "Playing in Scotland my full career, I'm kind of used to that. It's a bit of cold weather, so it hurts nobody."

Of the former Celtic defender, who finished with an assist to go with his goal, creating a game-high four chances, Arteta added: "He's been fantastic since I've been here.

"From the moment he got back from his shoulder injury, he's been terrific. He's a lad that gives you absolutely everything.

"He's improving, he's willing to get better and better, and he brings a great energy and quality to the team."

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will wait until the end of the January transfer window to decide if Mesut Ozil will be part of his squad. 

Ozil, 32, was left off Arsenal's Premier League list in October, casting further doubt over his future with his contract expiring at season's end. 

Arteta offered no guarantees of a return for Ozil, saying he would make a decision when the window closes on February 1. 

"We will see what happens in the transfer window and we will answer that at the end," he told a news conference.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos was also left out of Arsenal's Premier League squad, with the defender's contract also nearing an end. 

Arteta, whose side are 13th in the table ahead of Saturday's trip to West Brom, said it was up to players to decide their own futures. 

"You have to respect the players' contracts. What you can do, as I said before, is try to be open with them and tell them your intentions, the role that they have in the team and why that is," he said. 

"They are entitled to make a decision in their lives because they have a contract here. 

"Some would like to move because they are not playing and some would like to stay. And, at the end of the day, that's something that we cannot decide."

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