David Luiz – Deal or No Deal?

David Luiz re-signed for Chelsea Football Club in the summer of 2016, part of a £34 million deal from Paris St-Germain. Luiz signed a 3-year deal that day, leaving now just 6 months left on that existing contract. Rumors are circulating that a new deal may be on the horizon for the 31-year-old, is Luiz worth the extension?

Since David Luiz re-signed, he has been a key figure in the heart of the Chelsea defense. His charismatic, optimistic attitude welcomed back whole-heartedly by the Chelsea faithful. Mr. Luiz was a stalwart figure in the defensive wall created by defensive specialist Antonio Conte, going on to win the 2016/17 Premier League title. In a back three alongside Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill, Luiz made 33 league appearances in that season, helping Chelsea to the second best defensive record in the league that year, with just 38 goals conceded. Switching our attention to the distressing 2017/18 season under Conte, David Luiz made 10 appearances in an injury-hit season for the Brazilian and subsequently fell out of favor with the Italian. A precedent of the inconsistency shown by Luiz throughout his career.

“David Luiz has to work with the others if he deserves to play; otherwise, he will stay on the bench or in the stands.” – Antonio Conte

Cue the 2018/19 season, under a new manager in Maurizio Sarri, Luiz’s frequency in the starting 11 is anew. Sarri’s a fan of the Brazilian defender, as seen here:

“I enjoy very much his attitude, then he is also a very good player, a very good defender. He is very good to build up the action from defense.” – Maurizio Sarri

This season, Luiz has featured and started in all but one of Chelsea’s 24 Premier League games. For the statistic lovers, here are his numbers so far:

  • 23 Appearances
  • 1 Goal
  • 2 Assists
  • 88.8% Pass Completion Rate
  • 7.15 Rating according to whoscored.com

Note the fourth statistic I mentioned above, pass completion rate. David Luiz is seen by many coaches and fans as more than just a defender. An outstanding passer of the ball, technically-gifted, and more than a capable instigator of Chelsea’s attacks (Remember Luiz’s no-look assist for Pedro’s opening goal vs Newcastle? No? See below.

Video Credit – @edanto_

Luiz has seemingly grown into a further leadership role under Chelsea too. Numerous times this season, we have seen small glimpses of Luiz rallying his teammates, orchestrating the fans to support louder, and strong-willed plays on the field. Clearly, he exemplifies this off the field also, as noticed by the manager:

“If you’re a good defender you can play in a three-man defensive line and a four-man defensive line. I think he will be very useful for us – on the pitch and in the dressing room.” – Maurizio Sarri

Unfortunately, for all of Luiz’s character and undoubted ability on the ball, comes the comical errors and lackluster decision making when defending. This is something which has been with Luiz throughout his career, often the element holding him back from solidifying himself as one of the defensive greats in European football. For every mesmerizing assist as seen above, comes an episode of child-like defending from the Luiz. Need an example? Look up Bournemouth’s second goal in yesterdays 4-0 loss.

Bringing the facts and figures back out to play, let’s compare David Luiz’s first stint with Chelsea in the Premier League, in comparison to his second as far:

First Stint:

  • 81 Appearances (8 as a substitute)
  • 6 Goals
  • 1 Player of the Month (March 2011)

Second Stint (As far):

  • 66 Appearances (1 as a substitute)
  • 3 Goals
  • PFA Team of the Year – 2016/17 Premier League

We can also compare his team accolades, potentially showing his importance to the team in different stages of his Chelsea career:

First Stint:

  • UEFA Champions League – 2011/12 Season
  • FA Cup 2011/12 Season
  • Europa League – 2012/13 Season

Second Stint:

  • Premier League Title – 2016/17 Season
  • FA Cup 2017/18 Season

david-luiz-784848              Photo Credit – The Express

With all this on show, the question still bares, is David Luiz deserving of another contract for Chelsea Football Club?

For me, yes. I still regard Luiz as an important figure in the side, and someone of whom can contribute well on our road to success in the immediate future on the field. I believe Luiz provides an air of the Chelsea of old, leadership, fight, charisma and determination (We cannot forget his contribution in the biggest game of the club’s history, the Champions League Final in 2012), which may be fundamental in efficiently blooding the Chelsea of new under Sarri. Whilst his playing time may deteriorate, and his influence on the side diminish as time passes, I believe his influence off the field also is something which may be paramount in the dressing room, as Sarri has noted in previous press conferences. If it was to happen, it seems it would only be a one-year-deal, consequentially abiding by Chelsea’s over 30 policy. Luiz originally rejected a one-year extension in December 2018 but has reportedly come around to the idea. We will see in the coming days…

One more year for me. For you, should the “Geezer” stay?

Written by Dan McCarthy. Twitter: @maccasport

 

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