Football News

“People were saying, ‘Come back, come back…” – David Luiz explains emotional toll of leaving Chelsea for Arsenal

By Chris Smith

Published: 10:36, 20 March 2020

David Luiz says Chelsea staff members were pleading with him to return to the club after he joined Arsenal over the summer. 

Luiz departed Stamford Bridge for the second time in August, moving to the Emirates in a deal worth a reported £8m as then-Arsenal manager Unai Emery looked to shore up his defence.

Why did Luiz leave Chelsea? Five things to know…

  • Luiz left Chelsea for a second time over the summer, joining Arsenal for £8m in one of the transfer window’s biggest shocks.
  • The move appears to have followed a disagreement with manager Frank Lampard.
  • Luiz once said an “honest conversation” with Lampard led him to see they “had a different idea of the future of the game”.
  • Lampard maintains publicly that Luiz is a player he “respects.”
  • A renowned long-range passer, Luiz averages 5.2 ‘long balls’ per game – only three centre-backs (Coady, Dunk and Van Dijk) have a higher average.

Emery was dismissed just months later after a poor start to the 2019/20 season and Luiz is now enjoying life under new boss Mikel Arteta, but the Brazilian centre-back does admit he misses those at his former club, revealing how he initially struggled to adjust to being away from Chelsea.

“I can be honest with you, the first three days or the first week was not easy to digest and understand all the emotions, how I was feeling, because everybody knows my history with Chelsea,” Luiz said in an interview with Otro.

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“I had this connection with everyone at the club. It was so massive and big. I was missing every single one [at Chelsea].

“Every text message I was receiving, people were saying: ‘Come back, come back, come back, come back. We are here for you’.

“Like to use an example, a gentleman there who is 75 years old. He was taking breakfast with me at the time when he had the opportunity. He was texting me: ‘I am still waiting for you here to take breakfast again’.

“This kind of thing was just so difficult for me, because I am someone [who thinks] the heart as the most important thing.

“But then after that, in the professional way, I was thinking: ‘It is a new moment for you. It is another big thing for you to do. Maybe if you stay in the comfortable zone it is not going to be the best thing for you. And if you look at my life, I was never in a position where I liked to stay in the comfortable zone.’”

‘Joining Arsenal was a top decision’

Although he initially struggled to adjust to life at the Emirates, Luiz now feels he made a “top decision” joining Arsenal, who sit ninth in the Premier League, eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea.

The Brazil international has started the Gunners’ last seven games in all competitions as Arteta seeks to get a stuttering season back on track. Luiz insists he’s fully focused on restoring the club to former glories.

“It was a top decision. [Arsenal] are a big club,” he added.

“I want to make this club improve and to shine again. The first days were difficult but then after that, I started to adapt, adapt, adapt. And now I am so happy and I want to do big, big things with Arsenal.”