Winners & losers as Chelsea sell David Luiz to Arsenal
Arsenal have confirmed the signing of David Luiz from rivals Chelsea on a two-year deal.
The Brazilian ensured the final day of the Premier League transfer window would not be boring as he reportedly made his intentions to move to across London quite clear.
Arsenal had been searching for a new centre-back following the controversial departure of Laurent Koscielny, whose move to Bordeaux left a sizeable hole in Unai Emery’s backline, taking years of experience with him.
But the Gunners have got their replacement, with Luiz joining for £8m, significantly lower than the fee Chelsea paid to re-sign him on 2017’s summer deadline day.
So, who were the winners and losers of the shock deal?
Winner: David Luiz
Rewind to last summer and David Luiz’s future at Chelsea looked to be in doubt after being pushed out by Antonio Conte. He was then reprieved by Maurizio Sarri and became a key figure in defence for his ball skills.
But, upon Frank Lampard’s arrival, it was becoming apparent that Luiz may not have been the first choice centre-back going forward. And at 32, Luiz will want to make sure he is on the pitch as often as possible.
At Arsenal, coming in to replace Koscielny, Luiz is likely to be the first choice centre-back alongside Sokratis in a back four, helping the Gunners play out from the back.
Luiz will also be able to remain in London, keeping an eye on his restaurant business with now-former team-mate, Willian.
With Chelsea unable to sign any players this summer, the club would have wanted to keep unnecessary outgoings to a minimum. While the likes of Danny Drinkwater and Tiemoue Bakayoko have been deemed as surplus to requirements based on an overflow of star midfielders, Chelsea really couldn’t afford to lose any first-team centre-backs.
With Gary Cahill leaving at the end of his contract and Ethan Ampadu joining RB Leipzig on loan, Chelsea were left with Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori as their centre-back options.
But now they are left with just four, once Rudiger returns to full fitness, meaning Chelsea will be hurt by even the most minor of injuries at the back as they look to secure their status as Champions League regulars once more.
Winner: Andreas Christensen
While Chelsea may be a loser for their squad growing smaller, Christensen is almost certain to benefit, being the most likely replacement as starting centre-back.
The 23-year-old has had a strange two years since breaking into the Chelsea first-team, becoming a regular starter under Conte before being left out by Sarri. The dropping, coupled with two costly mistakes towards the end of Conte’s reign, appeared to have had an effect on Christensen’s confidence, meaning when he was given a chance by Sarri, the Dane often looked off the pace.
But in pre-season Christensen appeared to be Lampard’s favourite centre-back to start, alongside Zouma, in Rudiger’s absence. And with the German not ready to return for the opening game of the Premier League, Christensen will be there at the heart of Chelsea’s defence, ready to stake his claim once more.
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As is often the case in transfers, one move can either lead to a domino effect of other deals or completely scupper plans. Unfortunately for Everton, in this scenario, it is the latter.
The Toffees have been trying to lure Kurt Zouma away from Chelsea after a positive loan spell last season, and when that looked unlikely, they reportedly turned their attention to Fikayo Tomori.
Luiz’s departure confirms Tomori’s stay at Stamford Bridge, too, as Lampard’s fourth centre-back, alongside Zouma, Christensen and Rudiger. As a result, and despite securing the likes of Alex Iwobi and Moise Kean this summer, Marco Silva could now face a nervous wait until January, hoping none of Michael Keane, Yerry Mina or Mason Holgate pick up an injury.
Almost everyone was laughing at Arsenal and their supposed £40m budget at the start of the window as their squad needed a major overhaul.
But as the window is about to close, it could be argued that the Gunners have had one of the best windows, strengthening in attack and defence.
The signings of Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos and Kieran Tierney have now been joined by Luiz, who will bring experience at the back. Although he is sometimes liable to drift mentally in games, being caught out, Luiz is still a very good centre-back when fully focussed. And for £8m – the same Chelsea charged Bristol City for Tomas Kalas – this deal can only be considered a steal.
Another big win for Arsenal Head of Football, Raul Sanllehi.
Winner: RB Leipzig
Arsenal ultimately turned to David Luiz because they were priced out of a move for RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and needed a centre-back before Thursday’s deadline.
And with the signing confirmed, RB Leipzig should be able to keep hold of their centre-back at least for another season, allowing him to grow further and possibly add to his value should clubs circle again next summer.