Barcelona Bid for Chelsea's David Luiz, but Would He Be Missed?
It's official. After a summer of flirting with David Luiz, Barcelona have made an official bid for Chelsea's Brazilian defender today (Aug. 7).
talkSPORT suggests the bid for the centre-back is around £30 million, with Barca targeting Luiz as they look to strengthen their back line since the appointment of new manager Gerardo Martino.
Since the appointment of Jose Mourinho in June, rumors had been rife that the returning Chelsea boss was eager to offload him.
The Express suggested Mourinho had made Luiz an ultimatum to adapt his playing style or face the axe, while it was also reported the 26-year-old was part of Chelsea's initial bid for Wayne Rooney, of which the club denied in The Telegraph.
Now it's crunch time, however. Do Chelsea stay true to their word that Luiz is a key part of their plans, as was reported in The Guardian, or does the club cash in on his talents?
Barca's bid means the Blues have a decision to make, but will they make the right one? Bleacher Report takes a look at some questions they must consider.
What Luiz brings Chelsea
Now working as a pundit for Sky Sports, Gary Neville once described David Luiz as a "PlayStation footballer" and while the ex-Manchester United man has since admitted he may have overstepped the mark with his analysis (via Daily Mail), he does have a point.
That's not to say it's a criticism of Luiz, quite the contrary. It's almost a thinly disguised compliment that reflects his approach the game. Referring to him as such sums up what Luiz is all about—he's a player who brings entertainment to the crowds who flock to watch him and makes the headlines for all the right reasons.
In an age where footballers are often criticized for lacking character, Luiz has it in abundance and it can be infectious where his teammates are concerned.
Above all else, though, he is an exceptional talent. He may wander on occasion, hence that PlayStation description, but with a player of his ability, it's always going to be difficult to coach that out of him.
That said, last season he flourished, demonstrating excellent maturity and putting in the type of performances that saw Ricardo Carvalho before him lauded at Chelsea.
He was disciplined, assured in possession and at times, led by example, scoring vital goals and making some timely interceptions.
Chelsea need a player like Luiz to bring balance to their defence.
Would Chelsea need to sign a replacement?
Looking at their options at centre-back right now, yes.
Unlike Gary Cahill, John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic, Luiz has the ability to carry the ball from defence and link the back line to midfield, starting attacks.
It's a craft Rio Ferdinand perfected throughout his career, but Luiz is arguably better than the Manchester United ace in that area. He has the flair and confidence to back up his desire to push the team forward and his vision is exceptional.
Without a younger colleague from Chelsea academy ready and waiting to step up and fill his boots, it would leave Chelsea somewhat one dimensional at the back with their current options.
Who could Chelsea replace David Luiz with?
The best players are rarely "officially" on the transfer list and looking around Europe, there aren't many with Luiz's ability that can step up and perform his role, either.
Mats Hummels of Borussia Dortmund is a potential candidate, while Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos displays similar traits to Luiz with his ability on the ball.
Dante of Bayern Munich has also impressed, displaying an excellent ability with the ball at his feet.
But these players are key members of their current teams and bringing them to Stamford Bridge, for one reason or another, would be a considerable headache for Jose Mourinho.
Would their clubs sell? Hardly.
Should Chelsea sell David Luiz to Barcelona?
Is it financially rewarding?
Chelsea paid Benfica £21 million for the Brazilian in January 2011, so they stand to make a profit, but would they see any of it? Jose Mourinho would have to find a replacement and to bring in a player of Luiz's quality would cost just as much, if not more than what Barca are believed to be willing to pay.
It doesn't make business or football sense to sell.
What would be the repercussions of selling Luiz?
Other than giving themselves a major headache in having to find a player to replace Luiz, selling so late in preseason would unsettle the balance of Chelsea's squad at a vital time.
Rather than selling key players, with less than a fortnight before the season starts, the Blues need to be looking at strengthening. We know they have their eye on Wayne Rooney (as per BBC Sport) and all attentions need to be focused on persuading Manchester United to sell, not on bringing in another defender. Unless they have someone already lined up, of course.
Should Chelsea sell?
No is the straight answer. Not only is David Luiz is a world class defender, he's what they need. He is young, entering his peak years and has been around the club long enough to understand the project that's underway and where Chelsea are heading.
So much has been achieved behind the scenes prior to Mourinho's return and this season has all the promise that the club is ready to build on that success on the pitch by lifting the Premier League again.
Losing David Luiz, regardless of what Barcelona are willing to pay, will only weaken the Blues.
"David has come back with us fantastically and we have to use his quality," Mourinho said. "He has big self-confidence and self-esteem, especially when he comes up from the back with the ball.
"Can he improve defensively? Of course. But it is my job to try always to improve players."
It's not an admission that Luiz isn't leaving, but it's a fine endorsement that shows how highly Mourinho rates the Brazilian.
Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here: @garryhayes
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