Chelsea want either Paul Pogba, Koke or Paulinho after agreeing £48m David Luiz deal
Chelsea have agreed to sell David Luiz to Paris St-Germain for a fee of about £48million – a world-record for a defender – and are planning to invest the funds in a top-class midfielder.
The Premier League club hope to sign one of Juventus’ Paul Pogba, Atlético Madrid’s Koke or Paulinho of Tottenham Hotspur. Each would cost in excess of £30million.
Chelsea are already hopeful of signing the Atlético striker Diego Costa, who has a buy-out clause of £31.5million, but have cooled their interest, for now, in another Atlético player, the left-back Filipe Luis. However they are expected to return for the Brazilian once they have completed other transfer business. Ashley Cole has announced he expects to leave Chelsea, though he still might stay for another year.
Luiz underwent a medical in Brazil on Thursday after PSG officials were given permission to fly out and meet him at Luiz Felipe Scolari’s World Cup training base in Sao Paulo. Scolari, the Brazil coach, wants the deal completed before the World Cup starts.
Personal terms are yet to be finalised on what will be a five-year deal for the 27-year-old central defender but are expected to be a formality now the fee has been negotiated. PSG have moved swiftly to head off strong interest from Barcelona and Bayern Munich for a player who will be a marquee acquisition for coach Laurent Blanc.
Barcelona had two bids for Luiz rejected last summer when he had wanted to join the Spanish giants. Further negotiations have taken place this summer but PSG’s offer is far more than what Barça would pay.
The transfer eclipses the previous two highest fees paid for a defender – both by PSG and both also involving Brazilians: £35million for Thiago Silva, who will partner Luiz in the centre of Brazil’s defence in next month’s World Cup and £30million for Marquinos. It is also the third highest fee that a Premier League club has received for a player from an oversees club.
The deal also represents a remarkable piece of business by Chelsea. Luiz signed from Benfica in January 2011 for £21.3million and has three years left on a lucrative new contract that he agreed two years ago.
Chelsea's interest in Pogba follows the French international's outstanding campaign with Juventus. The midfielder has said he wants to remain with the Italian club – even though his agent Mino Raiola has hinted he may go - but if Chelsea were to sign him it would be a blow to Manchester United supporters given the circumstances in which Pogba left Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson, then the manager, said Pogba's refusal of a new contract and departure for Turin showed a lack of respect for the English club.
Spurs would consider selling Paulinho, who they signed last summer for £17million from Corinthians, but only if they can almost double their money on the Brazilian international. A deal with Chelsea remains possible.
Signing Koke from Atletico would appear to be a more difficult deal for Chelsea given they already want to sign Costa, are intending to recall goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from his three years on loan at Atlético and have inquired about Luis. Koke was previously a target for United.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho wants to bring a powerful goal-scoring midfielder into his squad with Frank Lampard now 35 and expected not to be first-choice should he sign a new deal and remain at the club.
The Luiz deal, following on from the £37million sale of Juan Mata to United in January, and the £17million transfer of Kevin de Bruyne to Wolfsburg, will help Chelsea to continue to comply with the Financial Fair Play rules and give Mourinho significant funds to reinvest in his squad.
Luiz's sale follows on from John Terry agreeing a one-year contract extension with Chelsea, where he will remain first-choice centre-half alongside Gary Cahill. Branislav Ivanovic will serve as back-up, though Chelsea have other options in that position. In January, they signed Kurt Zouma from St Étienne – where he remained on loan - for £12.5million. They also have the 21-year-old Czech international Tomas Kalas and Nathaniel Chalobah, who has been on loan at Middlesbrough.
Luiz, who has also played as a holding midfielder at Chelsea, remains highly popular player within the club, both in the dressing room and among supporters.
PSG will have to sell some of their players this summer given that they have been sanctioned for failing to comply with FFP.
Yet Luiz is not the only Chelsea player that PSG are showing interest in, with head coach Laurent Blanc having again expressed his admiration for Eden Hazard. The Qatari-owned club have also considered a move for Oscar as an alternative to Hazard, with Mourinho having suggested that both players need to improve to figure in his plans.