Talk of David Luiz jumping ship come January has steadily increased since the summer, with the maverick Brazilian used sparingly by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho all season long.
It has been suggested that the Portuguese is not a fan of the swashbuckling-style employed by the former Benfica defender, and may be looking to move him on in the winter market, with Barcelona known admirers of the tousle-haired centre-back.
Indeed, Chelsea may have already lined up his replacement. Italian website, ‘gianlucadimarzio.com’ have claimed that Inter officials visited London for the Chelsea-Steaua game on Wednesday, and discussed various potential deals with Chelsea officials; with centre-back Andrea Ranocchia a main talking point.
According to the Express, the 25-year-old Italian is set to hand in a transfer request at the San Siro. The relationship between the player and Inter has reportedly deteriorated recently, culminating in the player being dropped for the Serie A game against Sampdoria last week.
It is pretty clear that Chelsea fans would be mortified, though not entirely surprised, if David Luiz left Stamford Bridge.
The 26-year-old is a firm fans favourite at the club; with thunderbolt strikes from distance, raking balls from deep, and an obvious strength of character just some of his excellent attributes, not to mention his affable off-field personality .
But we all know that Chelsea can fall foul of his often perilous football. Ill-judged defensive movements, over-zealousness, and lapses in concentration have not gone down well with Mourinho; and this has left Luiz behind both John Terry and Gary Cahill in the pecking order at the club.
And yet, despite the negative aspects of his game, I strongly believe that if the Brazilian leaves Stamford Bridge, the team who snap him up will greatly benefit from the uniquely attacking element he brings from defence.
Ranocchia is a decent defender, and would be a more consistent, perhaps more reliable option at the back; but there really is no-one quite like David Luiz.