Chelsea Transfer News: David Luiz's Barcelona Snub Key to Title Challenge
David Luiz has told Brazilian media outlet Gazeta Esportiva (Portuguese), per Paulo Freitas of Sky Sports, that he rejected a move to Spanish champions Barcelona this summer to continue his career with Chelsea.
While the report suggests the Catalans' offer for the defender came nowhere near Chelsea's expectations in terms of a price for the Brazil star, Luiz says he rejected the advances of the Blaugrana.
"There was an official offer [from Barcelona], but I decided to stay at Chelsea," he said. "I am happy to play for a big club and be in the national team to represent my country."
Over the two-and-a-half years since his arrival at Stamford Bridge, the former Benfica defender has faced considerable criticism for some lacklustre defending in his early period at the club.
It is to his great credit, though, that he has largely ignored the media howls and, instead, worked on improving his performance level and positional mistakes.
As a result, Luiz has been a crucial element of Chelsea's successes in both the Champions League and Europa League over the past two seasons.
At his best, he is undeniably one of the world's leading central defenders. Strong and powerful, with excellent technical abilities, both in a defensive sense and with the ball at his feet, he is a very complete player.
It is this all-round excellence that saw Luiz used in defensive midfield for Chelsea last season. With Chelsea lacking a top-class holding midfielder, the Brazilian looked perfectly at home in the role, prompting a call for a permanent switch.
His best position, though, is at centre-back. The anchor position is an option that most ball-playing centre-backs will be asked to try at some stage in their career, but for Luiz it should remain just that—an additional option.
Pat Nevin: "I've always thought David Luiz was a world class player.- he is one of the best players in the world right now."— Road2Munich (@VtorDante) May 2, 2013
As a central defender, Luiz is simply too good to switch positions on a permanent basis. His range of passing may be well-suited to a midfield role, but he can also help Chelsea play from the back—in a similar manner to how Rio Ferdinand has excelled throughout his career.
Should David Luiz be a future Chelsea captain?
Given his aerial strength and proven ability to man-mark some of the most physical strikers in the European game, he must remain at centre-back. In time, he will surely replace Terry as the team's defensive leader and more than likely as captain, per David Hytner of the Guardian.
Chelsea could have kept Luiz against his will this summer, but they will be delighted to see the Brazilian's desire to remain at the club.
Under Jose Mourinho, who has proven a great coach in terms of defensive stability, he can iron out any remaining flaws in his game and make himself the most complete defender in world football.
If the Blues are to build upon their successes of recent times, Luiz will be a central figure in doing so. Given Terry's proximity to retirement, losing him now would have been nothing short of a disaster.
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