Chelsea have agreed on a deal with French champions PSG for the sale of Brazilian defender David Luiz. The center-back, 27, is set to join the wealthy French side subject to a medical after Chelsea accepted a bid believed to be around £40m.
The fee is the highest ever paid for a defender, breaking the record £36m that PSG paid in 2012 for fellow Brazilian Thiago Silva from AC Milan. The pair will line up alongside each other in Ligue 1 next season and know each other well from their international duties. This summer, the duo should be Brazil’s first choice central defensive pairing at the World Cup in their home country.
Luiz has fallen down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge with John Terry and Gary Cahill cementing themselves in Jose Mourinho’s preferred eleven. The Blues only just avoided breaking the Financial Fair Play rules, and the mammoth fee will provide Mourinho with much needed funds for reinforcements.
Having already signed Kurt Zouma in January, and with youngster Tomas Kalas progressing well, Chelsea will most likely focus the money on other areas of the pitch, although they have been linked with a move for Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane. They have also been widely linked with signing striker Diego Costa from losing Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid.
But there has been a mixed reaction to the sale of Luiz. Whilst many agree that the £40m fee was too good to refuse, there is no denying that the former Benfica man is a fan favorite in West London. Having joined in January 2011 for £21.3m, Luiz has won the FA Cup, Champions League and the Europa League in his three and a half seasons at The Bridge.
He has been widely criticized for his defensive abilities, with pundits and fans saying he is a liability. For all of his brilliance and vital interventions, Luiz is infamous for high profile mistakes and poor judgement, leading to calls for him to be converted into a defensive midfield position.
And whilst he has played there in the past, showing that he has attacking intent in his locker as well as determination to prevent his opponents, Mourinho doesn’t see him as a long term option in midfield.
PSG manager Laurent Blanc will have to decide whether to use Luiz as a defender or a midfielder, but his relationship with club captain Thiago Silva is likely to persuade Blanc to play him at the back. The deal could be completed before Brazil kick off their World Cup campaign against Croatia, and PSG will hope that the signing of Luiz can take them to the next level.
The French side made it to the quarter finals of the Champions League only to be knocked out by Luiz’s Chelsea side, and they will be hopeful that his experience can help fire them a bit further in their quest for European glory.
Fans of Les Parisiens will see the signing as a massive coup due to the fact that Luiz has attracted interest from Spanish giants Barcelona. And the Ligue 1 Champions are still being linked with a bid for fellow Chelsea star Eden Hazard as they look to keep rivals Monaco at arm’s length.
And despite Luiz’s flaws, the brutal reality is that he may be more suited to the French league than the Premiership. Moreover, at the end of August we could be looking at this deal as the one that set the wheels in motion for several others to take place.