Chelsea Transfers: 5 Potential Alternatives If David Luiz Is Sold
The transfer rumour mill continues to gather pace as we head further towards the summer, and Chelsea, as has been the way since Roman Abramovich arrived at the club 10 years ago, are being linked with more potential signings than most.
However, it is one of their own stars who is being heavily talked about with regards to a move from Stamford Bridge, with defender David Luiz said to be keen on a move to Barcelona, according to Jamie Sanderson of Metro.
Furthermore, Goal.com is reporting that Los Cules have made the Brazilian international a priority this summer, having already concluded a deal for his international colleague Neymar.
Moreover, the article also claims that the club's South American-based representative, Andre Cury, has started making progress on a deal for the former Benfica star, who is currently in Brazil on Confederations Cup duty with the Selecao.
Should such a move be forthcoming, then returning Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will undoubtedly need to replace Stamford Bridge's cult hero, who has played a big part in their European success over the past 15 months.
Therefore, here's a look at five potential replacements, should Luiz make his west London exit this summer:
The Top Target: Eliaquim Mangala
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According to Paul Hetherington of the Daily Star, Jose Mourinho is all set to make a move for the 22-year-old Porto defender, who had also been interesting to Manchester United prior to Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.
The French Under-21 international joined Porto from Standard Liege for €6.5 million in 2011, and after a transitional debut season went on to become an integral member of the club's defence during 2012-13, making 39 appearances in all competitions for the Portuguese champions.
Powerful, quick and versatile to the extent that he can play both at centre-half or left-back, Eliaquim Mangala's development over the last 12 months in Portugal has been another major success story for Porto's much-lauded scouting department.
According to Lee Bryan of the Daily Mail, Mangala has a £30million buyout clause in his contract—though it's understood Chelsea won't go anywhere near that figure—and whilst he is flattered by interest from the Blues, it's clear he understands the necessity of regular first-team exposure to continue his development:
It's flattering because Chelsea are a great club and Mourinho is a great coach.
At Porto I play every week and I am involved in the title fight and the Champions League. And that is important to me.
The Back-Up Plan: Ezequiel Garay
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Benfica's Argentinian international centre-half has had an impressive two years at the Estadio da Luz since moving to Portugal from Real Madrid. However, now would appear a good time for the 26-year-old to return to one of Europe's premier leagues.
Strong in the air, solid in the tackle and a decent reader of the game, Ezequiel Garay has long been considered one of European football's most promising defenders, dating back to his time at Racing Santander. Indeed, his performances at El Sardinero saw Real Madrid spend €10 million to secure his services in 2008.
Now, he has turned that potential into consistently solid displays and has made a starting spot for the national team his own under Alejandro Sabella.
According to Jason Burt of the Telegraph, Jose Mourinho has targeted a move for Garay this summer, although a deal very much depends on whether Porto would be willing to let Eliaquim Mangala leave for less than his €30 million release clause.
If Garay doesn't appear in the blue of Chelsea next season, then he could still be Premier League bound, with Manchester United close to a deal to take Garay to Old Trafford, according to Ed Malyon of Mirror Football.
The Recent Rival: Diego Godin
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The excellent Uruguayan defender has had a fantastic two seasons under Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid, playing a key role in their 2012 Europa League success and the Copa del Rey final win over bitter rivals Real Madrid last month.
The 27-year-old former Villarreal centre-half heads to the Confederations Cup with his reputation continuing to rise. Comfortable on the ball, Diego Godin is a composed defender who reads the game well, but at 6'2", he doesn't lack for physical presence either.
The 65-cap international joined Atleti in 2010 for a relatively meagre €8 million and Los Colchoneros would likely seek at least double for a player who was such a key component in La Liga's best defence last season.
Whilst he hasn't been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, there has been talk of a Premier League move for Godin, with James Dickenson of The Express citing a potential reunion with Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City.
However, if Luiz is to leave Stamford Bridge this summer, then Jose Mourinho could do far worse than putting together a deal for the talented defender.
The Familiar Face: Pepe
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The Portuguese international defender may have fell out of favour with Jose Mourinho during his final season at the Santiago Bernabeu, but with Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos likely to be Los Blancos first-choice defensive pairing heading into the future, the 30-year-old could be open to following his former mentor to Stamford Bridge.
Strong, quick, a little bit crazy but a thoroughly gifted defender, Pepe, who cost Real a staggering €30 million in 2007, has been linked with a summer move to the Premier League and Manchester City, according to John Cross of Mirror Football.
Still, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has insisted that Pepe won't be sold, telling Spanish radio station Onda Cero (via Sky Sports): "Pepe is not for sale and will not move this summer, at least that's my opinion."
However, in the world of football transfers, we all know that there is no such thing as a player who is definitively not for sale. Everybody has their price and Pepe is no different.
Mourinho knows the player well and may see his former charge as an ideal solution should David Luiz depart this summer.
The Left Field: Adil Rami
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The Corsica native is deceptively quick, strong as an ox, powerful in the air and a decisive reader of the game. Additionally, he's not bad with the ball at his feet either.
With 25 caps for France, the 27-year-old is approaching the prime of his career and Valencia, given their levels of debt, could be willing to sell the former Lille defender this summer.
According to James Dickenson of The Express, a fee of £7.5 million (€8.8 million) could be enough to persuade the Spanish club to do business, particularly given their failure to qualify for next season's Champions League.
Whilst that same article attributes Arsenal and Inter Milan with an interest, Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail claims that Jose Mourinho holds an interest. Again however, it reiterates the thought that Porto's Mangala remains the Blues No. 1 defensive priority this summer.
A left-field selection, no question, but if a player of Rami's quality were on the market for such a knockdown price, Chelsea and Mourinho would be foolish not to make an enquiry at the very least.