Frank Lampard on David Luiz's Chelsea Exit: I Wasn't Trying to 'Flex My Muscles'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2019

MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY - AUGUST 03: Head coach Frank Lampard of FC Chelsea looks on during the pre-season friendly match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and FC Chelsea at Borussia-Park on August 3, 2019 in Moenchengladbach, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has denied the decision to sell David Luiz to Arsenal was part of a dressing room power play.

Luiz joined the Gunners in a surprise £8 million move on Thursday.

Per Goal's Nizaar Kinsella, Luiz was popular among the squad, but Lampard said his sale was not about sending a message to the other players:

"I would never have gone out to make any form of a mark. I think it would have been naive to try to flex my muscles or my power. I don't need to do that. I just play it as I see it, daily. 

"I watch how the players train, I watch how the players react in the dressing room, how the spirit is. And then I have to make decisions. And I have to try and create a squad that is in the image of what I want. 

"And I wasn't saying David wasn't part of that, but I have to make lots of decisions every day and they are not all about trying to show power, they are just trying to do it my way because the last thing I want to do is look back on these times and go, 'I wish I had done that differently and I didn't quite do it.'"

Amid speculation the Brazilian's sale was the result of a falling-out between the pair, Lampard said that was not the case:

Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

"We had some conversations over the last week, honest conversations because I know David well and I think the conclusion of that was that he moved on." David Luiz did not go on strike to force Arsenal move, says Chelsea boss Frank Lampard: https://t.co/MGIXZKikH6 https://t.co/lu9KsyNwOP

The coach also said he was pleased with his central-defensive options. 

Chelsea have Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen alongside Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori, who returned to the club this summer from loan spells with Everton and Derby County, respectively.

"I am very comfortable with the squad we have got, and that's not a slant on David at all," Lampard added. "I know all of David's qualities. He has got great qualities as a footballer and as a person. It is just a decision we came to."

Luiz, 32, enjoyed two spells at Stamford Bridge. After arriving in January 2011, he was a regular at the back until his departure to Paris Saint-Germain in 2014. He returned two seasons later.

During his time at the club, he won the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League once apiece, as well as the UEFA Europa League twice and the FA Cup twice.

Per Simon Johnson of the Evening Standard, with his departure to Arsenal, the club recouped almost all the money spent on him in transfer fees:

Simon Johnson @sjstandardsport

#Luiz spent 6.5 years over two spells at #cfc - most were what most consider a player's peak. He won 6 major trophies. What did the club end up paying net (approx) in transfer fees for all this? £1m. They spent £59m (25m in 2011, 34m 2016), received £58m (50m in 2014, 8m 2019).

The Athletic UK's Liam Twomey noted Luiz's contributions to the club and acknowledged his exit could be divisive among Blues supporters:

Liam Twomey @liam_twomey

It’ll be interesting to hear Luiz explain his decision. The manner of his departure leaves a bitter taste for some, but when the dust settles he’s still the man who helped keep Bayern at bay with one working hamstring & lifted almost every trophy as a starter at Chelsea #cfc

Many Chelsea fans may not look too kindly on him joining their local rivals, but the move makes plenty of sense from Luiz's perspective if he were set to play a back-up role under Lampard.

Arsenal were desperate for a new centre-back, particularly after Laurent Koscielny's departure, so there's scope for Luiz to carve out a key role at the club.

As for Chelsea, it's evident Lampard is confident in Tomori's ability to step up to the first team, even though he has made just one Premier League appearance in his career.

The 21-year-old worked under the coach at Derby County last season, making 55 appearances, so Lampard is well aware of what he's capable of.