With Chelsea re-signing David Luiz for £30 million there are many pundits who have split opinions on whether or not Chelsea have made the right move in bringing him back to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League winner has had many critics for his defensive mistakes and lapses of concentration at the back, especially when he came up against Luis Suarez in the 2015 Champions League knockout stages and for his performance in Brazil’s World Cup semi-final 7-1 drubbing against Germany.
David Luiz simply couldn’t cope with Luis Suarez.
So what qualities does the Brazilian bring to Chelsea ?
Luiz isn’t limited to playing as a centre-back. He can comfortably fit into a defensive midfield role when needed and was sometimes used in that position when José Mourinho was manager of Chelsea. However, he was predominantly used as the partner for Thiago Silva whilst at Paris St Germain.
With Antonio Conté preferring to play a three at the back system with one defender bringing the ball out, Luiz fits perfectly and will enable Chelsea to play this way. He is quick and his ability on the ball will cause opposition teams problems by being able to turn defence into attack at speed.
One factor to also point out is that in the two years he has played in Paris he has been playing alongside Thiago Silva, arguably the best centre back in modern day football. With Silva by his side, they formed a formidable defensive partnership which saw them win back-to-back league titles. It is likely that he learned a lot playing next to Silva and which aspects of his game he needs to improve upon.
Luiz has played with Zlatan Ibrahimovic for two years and has come up against the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Sergio Agüero before in the Premier League, as well as playing against a wealth of talent in the World Cup, Copa America and Ligue 1. He already has the experience to play against players in the Premier League.
Moreover, he loves Chelsea. Simple as that. One thing’s for sure; all teams and fans love players and managers who are passionate for their club. Manager Conté, John Terry and now Luiz are prime examples of players in the current squad.
Luiz is likely to have learned a lot from playing alongside Thiago Silva at Paris Saint-Germain.
What negatives does the Brazilian have?
Lapses in concentration and rashness. The Brazilian has fantastic footballing ability but he loses his focus far too often when it matters most. This has previously cost Chelsea, PSG, and Brazil and is what led Mourinho selling him at Chelsea. In his final game for PSG, he gave away a needless penalty which put them 2-0 down in a game they subsequently lost 3-1.
Something perhaps over looked is that his best performances in the World Cup for Brazil and for PSG were when he had Silva next to him, suggesting that sometimes he carried Luiz with him. When Luiz has had to take responsibility and be the main centre back is when he has faltered. For example, when Silva went off injured against Barcelona in the 2015 Champions League knockout stages, Luiz was the main man. Another example is the 7-1 World Cup defeat to Germany where Silva was suspended and Luiz was the main defender for Brazil.
The main area of concern is that defensively he is not the strongest. His positional sense and reading of the game is far from what it should be to thrive in the Premier League. Add to this the feeling that he always has a mistake in him and it is little wonder many feel he is a liability at the back given that he has proven it time and time again.
Luiz failed to really establish himself in the Premier League in his first spell.
Only time will tell whether or not Luiz will prove to be a good signing for Chelsea and whether or not he can show he has matured into a more complete defender. From a financial perspective, however, Chelsea have still made a £20 million profit on Luiz, selling him for £50 million then reportedly buying him back for £20 million.
Either way, he is sure to liven up the Premier League this season!
This article was written by Ben Tipper. Twitter – @bentippermcfc