It was a busy deadline day for Chelsea with the headline news being a surprise £34 million deal to bring David Luiz back to Stamford Bridge. The Brazilian left Chelsea in 2014 to join PSG, but he has now made his return and has signed a three-year-deal with the club.
It is an interesting move, as it is one that excites fans and strengthens their squad. However, it can be looked at as a panic buy, because he isn’t the type of centre back that Antonio Conte wanted to bring in. The Italian wanted to sign a young, disciplined and mobile centre half, like Kalidou Koulibaly, but has instead ended up with Luiz, who we all know can be unpredictable.
Despite the desperation linked to the move, Chelsea needed to sign a centre-back as they were certainly short on numbers, especially after loaning Matt Miazga to Vitesse Arnhem. Gary Cahill and John Terry can’t be relied upon to play every match until Kurt Zouma returns, which made it imperative that a defender was signed on deadline day.
Luiz is a good defender when he remains concentrated on his task. His ability to launch attacks from deep will improve Chelsea, as they lack a centre-half capable of distributing the ball effectively. However, Conte must coach the eccentricities out of his game if he is to succeed during his second spell at Chelsea.
The other signing that Chelsea made on deadline day was Marcos Alonso, who joined the Blues from Fiorentina for a reported £23 million. This was another defensive recruit and the club now look like they are better stocked at the back.
Alonso is capable of playing either as a left-back, left midfielder or at centre-back. This versatility will have appealed to Conte, especially as he now has the option to field three central defenders. He has been overshadowed by Luiz’s return, but I fully expect Alonso to have a great career at Chelsea.
The Spaniard fits into what Conte is trying to build at the club and he will be a player that plays a prominent role under the Italian. Alonso is tall, robust and dominates aerially. Defensively, he has developed a lot since moving to Fiorentina and looks to be perfect to develop into a leading Premier League full-back.
He can also contribute in the final third, as he knows the right time to join attacks and when to stay back. The left back is an effective passer and contributes when in the attacking half. Last season, he scored three goals and added four assists.
Finally, one player who didn’t arrive on deadline day was Aymen Abdennour, but he was linked with a move to Chelsea throughout the day. The Mirror reported that he was an alternative to David Luiz and would have been seen as a temporary fix to the defensive problem.
It is encouraging that Chelsea had other targets and weren’t putting all their eggs in one basket with the Luiz deal. However, Chelsea fans should be happy that they didn’t sign Abdennour on loan.
He was a good centre-back at Monaco and played a vital part in their strong defensive unit during the 2014/15 campaign. Since moving to Valencia, he hasn’t impressed and the fact he was trying to be offloaded by a club that finished in the bottom half of La Liga last season shows his level. Chelsea would have seen Abdennour as a last resort and if he had been signed, he wouldn’t have been able to get into the starting eleven at Stamford Bridge.
A move for Luiz is a much better one, as he is a superior player and he excites the fan-base. If they had signed Abdennour, the supporters would have been underwhelmed.
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