Amid the euphoria at Stamford Bridge, there is one piece of news that should concern Chelsea fans – the possible departure of David Luiz, the bushy-haired character that has won over the doubters and become something of a cult hero at the club.
The small print on Jose Mourinho’s return is that he will have to sell to strengthen the Blues’ team. That is the difference between 2004 and today – the Abramovich purse, combined with Financial Fair Play, means the club cannot go out on a supermarket trolley dash to bring in a new squad. Mourinho has to shape, improve and enhance what he has.
And to raise funds, there is talk of Luiz going to Barcelona, who may see the Brazilian as a replacement for 35 year-old Carles Puyol. With the arrival of Neymar, Barca may see Luiz as good company for his Brazilian national team-mate.
But Chelsea will be instantly weakened by the departure of Luiz. According to media reports, John Terry is set to remain as club captain under Mourinho. This really should be the time to allow Terry to ride off into the sunset as a hero, but it looks as if the troubled skipper will find it hard to exit the club he has dominated for more than a decade. Luiz, after a suspect start in a blue shirt, has developed into an excellent player. One newspaper called him “the most complete player in the Premier”, which may be a little bit of an overstatement, but there’s no doubting his growing influence. He also seems to be someone who enjoys his game and the relationship he has with the supporters. In that respect, he’s Terry without the baggage.
If Mourinho is to be successful – and he will surely be – then he needs players like Luiz. The “special one” could instantly improve the depth of Chelsea’ squad by bringing home some of their loaned-out players. Lukaku had a great season at West Bromwich Albion and may justify his billing as “the new Drogba” in 2013-14. There’s rumours of a new goalkeeper coming on board to give Cech some competition, but Thibaut Courtois at Atletico Madrid – arguably the best keeper in La Liga last season – may already fit the bill. And then there’s Kevin De Bruyne, who netted 10 goals in 30-odd games for Werder Bremen in the much-admired Bundesliga on his season-long loan.
As for Luiz, it would be a pity if Chelsea were to let go a player – albeit for £ 35m or more – who will strengthen one of their rivals for the Champions League. There are surely others who could help boost the Stamford Bridge “war chest”.