David Luiz is back at Chelsea after his big-money switch from PSG late on transfer deadline day, but is it a good move for The Blues?
There is no doubting that Luiz is a very talented footballer but during his first stint in England he was referred to as ‘Sideshow Bob’ – a villain with big hair in The Simpsons (for those of you that live on the moon) – and, famously, a ‘Playstation player’ by TV pundit Gary Neville.
Chelsea were no doubt laughing, however, when they received £50million from French giants PSG for the Portuguese star back in June 2014, while goodness knows what Neville must have been thinking when that transfer went through!
During his first stint at Stamford Bridge there were times when he resembled a Sunday morning parks player and others were he looked genuine world class. Just check out the goal below and ask yourselves how many central defenders can do this….
Luiz, who is now 29, admits he learnt a lot from his first experience in England and who better to get the best out of a defensive player than an Italian coach, particularly one as tactically astute as Antonio Conte.
Luiz has clearly been bought with a view to the Blues switching to a back three, something Conte used regularly during his time as Juventus and Italy boss – and with midfield defensive destroyer N’Golo Kante in front of him, Luiz has the sort of protection that ball-playing central defenders can only dream of.
You can also argue that it’s incredibly good business from the Stamford Bridge club, given that they re-signed him for £32million, making a profit of £18m. There are also rumours that PSG still owed Chelsea on the original transfer, so those figures could be even more favourable to the Premier League outfit.
However, he was clearly not the first choice for Conte, who had been linked with moves Alessio Romagnoli, Kalidou Koulibaly, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini before eventually turning to the Brazil international.
But here is where the move makes perfect sense. Luiz knows the club, he knows a high proportion of the players and he knows the Premier League. He should, therefore, be able to slot straight into whatever system Conte wants to play and, in theory, there should not be the need for an easing in process.
Luiz is also a proven winner. He lifted the Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup in his first stint with Chelsea and virtually cleaned up with PSG in his two years in France. He was named in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year in both the 2014/15 and 2015/16 campaigns, during which his stats were off the chart.
They do say ‘never go back’ but this just feels like the right move at the right time for a club looking to get back to what they do best – winning trophies.