Luiz close to £50m PSG move as Blues balance the books
Chelsea are close to agreeing a £50m deal with Paris Saint-Germain for David Luiz, with the player surplus to requirements for Jose Mourinho, who is remodelling his squad according to the restrictions of home-grown quotas and Uefa Financial Fair Play regulations.
The Chelsea manager has placed his trust in the teenage French defender Kurt Zouma, who was signed from Saint-Etienne for £12.5m in January and will come into the first-team squad after the World Cup finals.
It is Zouma (19), left on loan in France for the remainder of last season, who is regarded as the long-term replacement for Luiz in the Chelsea squad.
The limitations imposed by FFP mean that the £50m that Chelsea anticipate they could earn from the Luiz deal would prove extremely useful in staying inside Uefa's regulations.
The club managed to demonstrate to the European governing body that they kept within the permitted losses for the previous accounting period, but after their January spending on Nemanja Matic, Mohamed Salah and Zouma – a combined outlay of nearly £45m – they will have to be careful again this summer.
The sale of Luiz will make him the most expensive defender in the history of the game. It will also ask serious questions of how Paris Saint-Germain hope to comply with FFP, having already been sanctioned by Uefa for failing to do so in the first monitoring period. The French champions will have to sell players to make room on their wage bill.
Chelsea signed Luiz from Benfica in January 2011 for £21m, at the same time as spending £50m on Fernando Torres. He started strongly and was used by Rafa Benitez in 2012-13 as a midfielder.
Having pledged not to do the same, Mourinho deployed the Brazilian in a similar position this season, although he seemed to lack trust in the player on big occasions.
A free-spirited defender, Luiz is not the type of player Mourinho would naturally have gravitated towards. It also further breaks up one of the dominant cliques within the club that included Torres and Juan Mata, whose £37m sale to Manchester United also eased FFP worries. Chelsea announced losses of £49.4m in December, although they still managed to come in under the £37.5m Uefa benchmark for the last FFP monitoring period.
Mourinho has mentioned the restrictions imposed by FFP on many occasions over the last season and it is a major consideration as the club try to give their manager the resources to change his squad. Chelsea hope to sign the Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa as part of their summer plan. (© Independent News Service)