Football

Filipe Luis will regret Chelsea move

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It doesn’t take long for a footballer to go from hero to zero these days - just ask Chelsea’s summer signing Filipe Luis, who left La Liga champions Atletico Madrid in the summer with his reputation sky high after a wonderful season in Spain but has played just seven minutes of Premier League football since his move to Stamford Bridge.

The 29-year-old was arguably Europe’s best left-back last season. He played a key role not only in helping Atletico secure their first league title since 1996, but also to finish as runners-up in the Champions League.

Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois took most of the plaudits, along with manager Diego Simeone, and perhaps rightly so - but the job that Luis did, along with the likes of Gabi, Miranda and Diego Godin should not be understated.

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Did Mourinho sell Luis a lie?

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho offered both Courtois and Costa first-team assurances in the summer, and it’s presumed that he must have made similar guarantees to Luis, who has already confirmed that he is far from happy warming the bench at Stamford Bridge.

And who can blame him? The Brazil international has played a pitiful seven minutes in the Premier League since arriving for £15.8 million in the summer - the final seven minutes of that bonkers 6-3 victory for Chelsea against Everton in late August.

He’s featured three more times in the Capital One Cup and Champions League, but Luis presumably left the Vicente Calderon under the strict impression that Chelsea’s left-back spot was going to be his.

Mourinho in difficult position

In fairness to Mourinho, the recent form of both Branislav Ivanovic and Cesar Azpilicueta has made things extremely difficult for him.

Perhaps the revered Portuguese coach expected Ivanovic’s performances to tail off which, in turn, would have allowed him to switch Azpilicueta to his favoured right-back spot and slot Luis in at left-back.

But Ivanovic has been superb at the start of this season - arguably the best right-back in the Premier League - and Mourinho can not justify dropping him.

Similarly, Azpilicueta - as he was last season, after displacing Ashley Cole - has been excellent at left-back and Mourinho, not wanting to upset the apple cart, is keen to stick with what has been working up until now.

Mourinho's decisions are working

That Chelsea are already five points clear at the top of the Premier League table suggests it’d be perverse to criticise Mourinho for the decisions he’s made so far this season. Ivanovic and Azpilicueta are both performing very well indeed; but then, was the Chelsea boss wrong to sign Luis?

Having top-quality back-up is crucial for any team with ambitions of winning silverware, of course, but it’s important that these players are happy to warm the bench while waiting patiently for their next chance.

Luis could grow restless

Does Luis fall into that category of player? Judging by comments he made earlier this month, perhaps not. However, he makes it clear that he is more than ready to take his opportunity to make the left-back position his own.

"Everyone here wants to play," he told reporters. "When you do not play, you're not happy at all, but I came here, to Chelsea, to win titles. The team is always more important than any player.

"The season is very long... Everyone will have their chance and will try to take it."

Luis may have big regrets about Chelsea move

After watching his former Atletico teammate Costa and Courtois shine in the blue of Chelsea, Luis must be wondering why Mourinho fails to regard him as a key signing, too - and perhaps even has regrets about leaving the Calderon for west London.

In the Spanish capital, Luis was one of the first names on Simeone’s team-sheet, and won four major trophies during his four years with the club.

What more did he want? Money must have come into the equation - Chelsea have the financial clout of offer much more than Atletico, even after their famous La Liga triumph - and considering he turns 30 in August, maybe he thought this was his one final chance to earn big money before retiring.

But the pay cheque will be of small comfort to Luis if he continues spending time on the bench over the forthcoming weeks and months.

Will Luis's situation improve?

The South American defender made 49 appearances for Atleti last season, 42 in the campaign before that, and a massive 53 during the 2011-12 season. This is a player used to playing week-in, week-out - and warming the bench will do little for his confidence or sense of belonging at Stamford Bridge.

It’s difficult to envisage Luis’s situation improving because of the fine form of Ivanovic and Azpilicueta. Both full-backs are consistent, reliable and work well in the formidable unit that is Mourinho’s current team.

Little has been made of the fact, though, that Mourinho agreed to pay almost £16 million for a full-back who has played less than ten minutes of Premier League football so far this season.

While Costa and Courtois were needed at Stamford Bridge this season, Luis was perhaps one Atletico Madrid player too many for the title favourites.

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Topics:
Chelsea
Filipe Luis
Premier League
La Liga
Football

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