David Luiz to Barcelona: Smart or Not Smart?

Daniel Tiluk@@danieltilukFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2014

It's never wise to believe anything concerning transfers this time of year, really ever, but especially in January.

Everybody's going somewhere, so much so that all Premier League stars are leaving England, and all continental starts are coming to the Premiership—take everything with a grain of salt as the old adage goes.

This West London rumour has been in the works since the summer and while dulled, isn't yet dead.

David Luiz has been on the skirts of relevance since Jose Mourinho was named manager in June. The Brazilian has shown his quality in the BPL, and definitely his personality, but one thing evades him at times—his head.

Lapses in defense gave way to interim manager Rafa Benitez trying him in the double pivot last season with relative success.

Yet once the news of the “Special One’s” return to West London was official, fans, writers and pundits questioned the role Luiz would play in a "Mourinho side." A team known for its stalwart defensive qualities, mentally rigidity and dogged focus are traits Luiz is seldom complimented with.

This inquisitive mindset lead some to believe the defender could be on his way out of Stamford Bridge during the summer window, but he remained with the squad. Now that the window is open again, so are the rumours.

While not always a first choice in defense, his quality play in midfield has been a blessing to a Chelsea side that were leaking goals before his arrival in the middle of the park.

With former Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic back in the Chelsea first team, one wonders if Luiz will soon lose his position as midfield partner with compatriot Ramires and be subjected to the bench or stands as he was during the first few months of the campaign.

It’s ironic considering Luiz could lose his place in midfield to the player who facilitated his arrival in London.

Mourinho again displayed this weekend his preferred line-up.

Removing sure-footed Ashley Cole from the starting XI so Cesar Azpilicueta and Branislav Ivanovic could play as full-backs. This reversion to the norm would suggest as soon as Frank Lampard is fully fit, a battle between the old legend and the new signing Matic for double pivot duty will surface in Stamford Bridge.

Metro UK has reported Barcelona are seriously interested in the defender, and the Daily Star has reported should the Catalan side offer anywhere in the region of £29-30 million for the Brazilian, Chelsea would be open to a sale. While certainly a lot to think about, it seems rather presumptuous £30 million would sway a side with the bankroll of Chelsea.

For Barcelona, the transaction would make all the sense in the world.

Barça legend Carlos Puyol has undergone five knee operations during his decorated career, and turning 36 later this year would seem to suggest he's in the stoppage time period of his career.

While Luiz isn't the defensive behemoth Puyol is, the Brazilian's on-ball confidence and ability to pass would suit the Spanish game to a tee. With Gerard Pique being the steel of Barcelona's back line, a second dose of Brazilian flair with Dani Alves would certainly liven the Spanish giants even more.

Transfermarkt.co.uk value the Brazilian international at £23 million.

Purchased from Benfica in 2011 for £21.3 million, it would take a bit more than £30 million to give Roman Abramovich pause in selling a Stamford Bridge favourite.

The Mirror reported this summer the Russian billionaire placed a £40 million price tag on Luiz, hoping to avoid the temptation of selling the defender. If Barcelona wants a new centre-back from London, they'll have to think more like Real Madrid and splash cash. In a world where Gareth Bale is worth an estimated £85 million, who knows anymore.

Whether or not Luiz is sold is up to Jose Mourinho.

The owner has his say, of course, but if the Portuguese wants to keep the defender, he stays. If the manager wants to bolster his budget for the summer, Luiz goes. Via Sky Sports, the West London club want to keep Luiz despite his defensive shortcomings, and it would be a brilliant decision to do so.

With John Terry, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech and Ashley Cole all being on their last legs, the leader of Chelsea's future will need to be a vocal, gregarious personality; and with the current Brazilian quartet in the squad, Luiz looks as apt as any to take the captain's armband come Terry's retirement.

Selling him on to Barcelona before he's had a chance to reach his full potential would be a knee-jerk reaction for money, rather than a sound football decision.

If the Catalans bid for the defender, the wise decision from a Chelsea perspective (unless they offer Bale or Cristiano Ronaldo money) would be to decline it.

To answer the title question: "David Luiz to Barcelona: Smart or Not Smart?"

Considering the money involved and the Luiz’s potential future value—final verdict:

Not smart.


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