Sunday 18 February 2018

Luiz deal may look strange but it makes sense for all

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian defender David Luiz Picture: AFP/Getty
Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian defender David Luiz Picture: AFP/Getty

Sam Wallace

Chelsea's decision to re-sign David Luiz for £30m was in keeping with a new policy not to pay well over their valuation of transfer targets, even if it meant missing out on some of them.

The club felt that signing Luiz, who left the club 2014 after the first season of Jose Mourinho's second spell, met most of the requirements they had for a central defender and was a long way ahead of their other options.

They were faced with the prospect of paying more than £60m for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly who was highly rated but, Chelsea felt, massively overpriced.

The offer of Luiz came late in the window at a point where the club were dissatisfied with the options open to them, including loaning Valencia's Aymen Abdennour.

They had pushed hard for John Stones the previous summer but had switched their priority signing to Romelu Lukaku at the start of this latest window under the rationale that there would be no way Everton would consent to sell both.

The reality has been that, for the second summer in a row, Chelsea have been unable to convince Everton to sell them one of their leading players.


No-one at Chelsea would pretend that Luiz was in their original top-three picks for a new centre-back.

AC Milan priced Alessio Romagnoli at more than Chelsea's £30m offer, and Roma would not sell Belgium midfielder Radja Nainggolan.

The club know that it looks strange that they have re-signed a former player, and the fact that it has happened before with Nemanja Matic and that they tried to do the same with Lukaku makes them appear to have no long-term strategy.

They do have a long-term strategy, which is to back the manager they have in place.

Antonio Conte, like Mourinho, has the final say on players once scouting and analysis has been done and the deal has been priced and checked out.

Of course, Luiz had his flaws but at this point of the market there was no perfect scenario, just a series of deals that all had potential disadvantages. With Luiz, at least Chelsea knew what the disadvantages would be.

The real pity of this transfer window for Chelsea is that they have had to sign Marcos Alonso as cover at left-back when they have in recent years allowed Ryan Bertrand and Filipe Luis - both better options - to leave.

Unlike Luiz and PSG, there would be no prospect of Southampton permitting Chelsea to re-sign Bertrand for less than they sold him. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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