The future of David Luiz has been well speculated in the media. The Brazilian has been linked with several European heavy weights like PSG, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, amid suggestions that Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho harbours doubt over his defensive pedigree and could be looking to cash in on the player.
However, the Portuguese has insisted that none of the star players of Chelsea will be sold in the summer and that includes Luiz as well.
The 26-year-old is a different sort of defender that doesn’t quite fit the prototype of Jose’s typical defenders. He is confident on the ball, likes to go forward at every presentable opportunity, flamboyant, possess brilliant technical abilities and a truly committed player – which every manager would like to have in the side.
Like a typical Brazilian, blessed with flair, he is perhaps too adventurous. He struggled initially at Chelsea, especially while defending (even though he is not without flaws at the moment) that prompted many to argue that centre-back might not be his best position.
Last season, we saw Rafael Benitez used him as a defensive midfielder in few games, where quite naturally he excelled. But, it would be foolish to expect a similar sort of approach from the Portuguese. He will want to deploy Luiz at centre-back only and can make him a terrific defender too, like he did with another Chelsea hero, few years back – Ricardo Carvalho.
Jose doesn’t like defenders to wander off their respective zone frequently. He rather wants a defender to build up the game from the back. Carvalho, like Luiz, used to go forward too often from the back during his time at Porto and early days of Chelsea. But, he was forced to curb this instinct. It was not like Jose didn’t want him to go on an attack, but wanted him to read the game and then make a move accordingly.
“Jose let me go forward because he thought that I could do it well, but he didn’t encourage me to do it because he likes defenders to defend and to start the play from behind.” – said Carvalho.
Probably Jose will do the same thing with the former Benfica defender. Carvalho feels that Luiz will have to drop back faster to cover the space, despite going forward.
Centre-back players who possess speed are often involved in dangerous counter-attack movements. Remember Carvalho’s famous goal against Manchester United in the 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge? That was one of the finest examples of how a centre-back can initiate and involve completely in a dangerous counter-attack. On that occasion, he read the game perfectly and waited till the time was right for him to make a darting run.
It is a misconception that Jose doesn’t like ball playing defenders. Luiz has a perfect template ahead of him in the form of Carvalho and if he can curb his natural aggressive instincts a little bit, he might turn into a truly great player in near future.