Why would Chelsea want David Luiz back at Stamford Bridge?
Football fans everywhere were astonished when PSG offered Chelsea £50 million for David Luiz – a player many considered to be a defensive liability. Chelsea fans themselves were ecstatic to receive such a fee for a centre-back who sacrificed natural defensive instinct for a childlike glee to get forward. However, in the light of a rumoured £32 million bid, why would Chelsea want the Brazilian back?
First and foremost, Luiz would be bought for the future. The ageing of club legend John Terry is cause for concern for many in the Chelsea camp; footballers are, after all, only human, and at 35, there can be no doubting that Terry’s best years are behind him.
Next to him in central defence lies Gary Cahill, who may be five years younger than Terry, but is still a veteran defensive player who may lack the required physicality or speed two or three seasons down the line.
Therefore, the purchase of David Luiz, who may only be a year Cahill’s junior, but who is more likely to have the energy required to play Premier League level football, may actually be a more astute signing than initially appears – especially if Chelsea make £18 million profit. Furthermore, the experience he has gained from winning titles in France, and playing alongside one of the best central defenders of recent times in Thiago Silva, will be passed down onto younger players, like Kurt Zouma, to help them fulfil their potential.
Linked to this, and an assumption can be made that Antonio Conte’s system works far better with more athletic defenders, and that this will allow Conte to get the best out of the Brazilian. For example, in the 3-5-2 that Conte employed in the European Championships, the three favoured central defenders were Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci – a trio of centre-backs who are all quicker than the traditional mould. If Conte wants to employ a similar 3-5-2 at Chelsea, only the more agile Kurt Zouma can be considered suitable in the current squad, so the capture of Luiz could potentially allow Conte to employ the 3-5-2 to greater effectiveness.
Luiz’s versatility is another major asset, and one that Conte will certainly look at using. In his time at Chelsea, many thought that the Brazilian was better suited to a defensive-midfield position – one that would still use his technical skills and ability going forwards, but one that would be less of a liability at the back. Luiz was known to be prone to occasional errors, though this is a problem that could be reduced with more cover around him.
Finally, Luiz offers far more going forwards than most centre-halves do in the modern game. He is renowned for his long range shooting, as well as his free-kicks, both of which could be used to some effect by Conte. Luiz has proven his ability to do this on the international stage, as well as the domestic one – who can forget his stunning long-range effort for Brazil against Columbia at the 2014 World Cup?
If Luiz was to move back to Chelsea, he would be well-placed to make a real impact at the London side, especially if manager Antonio Conte can employ a system that utilises the Brazilian’s strengths and minimises weaknesses in the defensive side of his game.
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