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What David Luiz’s injury means for Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba in Mikel Arteta’s plans

Arsenal have been dealt a major blow heading into the upcoming Premier League season as David Luiz is likely to miss the club’s opening day fixture at Fulham with a neck injury.

football.london understand the extent of the injury is still being assessed by the club. As first reported by The Athletic, the neck problem was sustained during the Community Shield win over Liverpool on August 29.

On top of this, a video feed of Arsenal training also revealed that Luiz was not among the training squad ahead of the trip to Craven Cottage.

Now, Mikel Arteta is down to four available centre-backs [William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holding and Sokratis] to choose from, with three of those part of his plans. football.london revealed on July 27 that Sokratis is not part of the head coach’s plans for the 2020/21 season.

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Anticipation surrounding a potential Saliba and Gabriel partnership was at fever pitch even before the Brazilian’s move to Arsenal was confirmed, but now, expectations of the pair playing together have grown rapidly. Although this may be the ideal scenario for fans at the start of the season, it may take time before Arteta feels confident enough to field them together in the Premier League.

While both possess clear talent, the Spaniard will be conscious of both the balance of his team and the readiness of each player.

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As things stand, Saliba has already had a fair amount of exposure. Deciding to stay in London during the off-season, he impressed Arteta with his attitude as well as the natural on-pitch qualities which excited fans so much about his arrival. In pre-season, they were able to see this up close for the first time at MK Dons as the 19-year-old was a calming yet purposeful player in possession, and quick to act in defence.

Not used in the Community Shield, but…