Monday 21 August 2017

REVEALED: Real reason why Chelsea believe they have a bargain in David Luiz

Chelsea have announced the signing of David Luiz from Paris St Germain on a three-year contract. Photo: PA
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Chelsea’s decision makers will justifiably claim they pulled off a bargain deal as they confirmed the £30m signing of Brazilian superstar David Luiz on transfer deadline day.

Two years after Chelsea sold Luiz to Paris Saint-Germain, the west London club has re-signed a player who is believed to have been the driving force behind one of the most surprising transfer deals of recent years.

PSG were reluctant sellers of the player they captured amid much fanfare two years ago, but Luiz declared he had unfinished business at Chelsea and asked to be allowed to complete the move.

It is quite a turnaround for a player who was the subject of widespread ridicule following Brazil’s 7-1 defeat in the 2014 World Cup semi-final, with the £50m fee PSG had agreed to pay for him prior to that game viewed as a major mistake given his woeful display in the biggest game of his career.

Yet this transfer has all the hallmarks of a deal that is as much about shrewd business as it is sport, with Luiz’s arrival at Chelsea instantly giving the club a new face that can be sold around the world.

Chelsea’s accounts confirm that they made a healthy profit on their initial deal to sell Luiz to PSG in the summer of 2104, which amounted to around £25m on their initial investment in the frizzy-haired star they had signed from Benfica in 2011.

So the deal they have now agreed to bring the 29-year-old back to the club represents a modest outlay to rehire a player whose status as a sporting icon around the world makes his a valuable asset.

The influx of revenue from the new television deal has ensured that Chelsea’s outlay on Luiz is entirely justifiable and the club will also cite his marketing potential as a viable reason to finalise one of the more surprising transfers in recent years.

With almost 50 million social media followers on his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, Luiz is one of the most popular soccer players in the world and that is an audience Chelsea will be keen to tap into.

Luiz has more followers on Twitter than Chelsea Football Club and while many observers have expressed doubts about his abilities on the field, his status as the most recognisable player in the club’s squad will not be lost on those charged with rebuilding the Blues squad this summer.

New Chelsea manager Antonio Conte clearly wanted Luiz to join his squad and will look to his big name signing to lead his side’s title challenge, yet this is a deal that all the hallmarks of a club looking to sign a marquee name to bolster their global reputation.

In a summer when Manchester United signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, Chelsea needed to respond with a big name of their own and Luiz is the commodity they have invested a relatively modest amount to sign.

While they will not claim the money back they have invested in shirt sales as Adidas will reap the rewards from any surges in Luiz jerseys, Chelsea will hope to make a profit on the marketability of a player who is box office in his native South America and one of the most recognizable faces in the game.

Never mind that he is noted for his accident-prone status on the field, as this is a player who will serve a purpose for Chelsea over the next couple of years on an off the field.

 

Signing players of Luiz’s status has become so much more than a mere sporting decision in the modern game, with the deals that have seen Ibrahimovic, Pogba and Luiz move to the Premier League this summer confirming that an iconic status off the pitch can be just as valuable to top clubs as flashes of genius on it.

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