Chelsea completed the £30m purchase of David Luiz on the transfer deadline day.
The Blues were linked with several defenders along the course of the summer but nobody would have expected them to end up with one of their former players.
David Luiz was a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge before he completed a £50m transfer to Paris Saint-German two years ago.
Since then his cult status at Chelsea deteriorated thanks to him scoring against the Blues twice in the Champions League. The Brazilian helped PSG knock Chelsea out of the Champions League in each of the past two seasons.
As per media reports, it can be assumed that David Luiz wasn’t the first-choice target for Antonio Conte. The Italian desperately wanted to sign a centre-back, but the Brazilian’s transfer was probably a last resort.
Conte wanted to sign the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly or Leonardo Bonucci and only went after Luiz when the moves for his preferred targets failed to materialize.
However, the fact that he was never the first choice for Conte should not be used against him. David Luiz is still a very good footballer and is at the peak of his powers.
Here are a few reasons why the South American can and will be a major asset for Chelsea.
Attitude and Charisma
David Luiz’s contribution is not just limited to the pitch. His charisma and attitude around the camp will help lift the team’s morale.
The Brazilian not only impressed the Chelsea fans with his jovial attitude during his first stint at Stamford Bridge, he managed to create a relaxing atmosphere in the dressing room as well.
Furthermore, his passion for the game and the team he plays for can never be questioned.
Luiz has always been one of those players who wears his heart on his sleeve.
He was a key part of the side that won the Champions League under Di Matteo and proved himself as an inspirational figure on the pitch with his aggression and maturity.
For a defender, David Luiz has an outstanding ability on the ball. With him in the side, Chelsea are instantly a better passing side.
The Brazilian has the skillset to play as a centre-back as well as a defensive midfielder. His passing ability and composure on the ball will allow Conte to build from the back and finally try out his three defender formation as well.
Improved protection from midfield
It is true that David Luiz is prone to the odd lapse of concentration and a moment of madness at the back, but unlike PSG and the previous Chelsea team he played in, he will have much better protection from the midfield this time around.
The likes of Kante and Matic are world class in their positions and will protect their centre backs a lot better than Matuidi and Motta did (for PSG) or Ramires and Mikel for that matter (under Di Matteo/Rafa Benitez).
As good folks from Betway and Squawka discuss on the latest Betway Insider podcast, how Conte will use Luiz will go a long way towards deciding whether Chelsea are legitimate title contenders this season or not. And in a summer chock-full of marquee summer signings, if Luiz can provide the dynamic leadership from the back that Chelsea so badly needs, the second-time Chelsea defender could just be one of the signings of the season.
Keep in mind that Antonio Conte is a world-class defensive coach. The development of Bonucci and Chiellini under his tutelage was remarkable.
David Luiz has all the attributes to become a world-class defender. He has the technique, physique and intelligence and Conte will go beyond his means to improve Luiz as a defender.
Conte could use Luiz in a back three to utilise his qualities better. Playing in a back three will provide Luiz with the licence to step forward and pick a pass from deep, initiate attacks from the defence.
Luiz played 212 accurate long balls (4th highest in the club) for PSG, during his time at the club. Under Conte this could be used as an effective secondary tactic when counter-attacking against stronger teams in Europe or when chasing games in the league against defensively-obdurate opposition.