For some time now Chelsea have been one of the most active clubs in the off-season transfer markets.
Over the years, an almost never ending list of players have come in and subsequently left the club with a large proportion of them failing to live up to the expectation that their transfers delivered.
So when Chelsea splashed a reported £25 million on a relatively unknown Brazilian centre back in 2011, there were many people thinking “here we go again”.
How wrong they were.
After a brief appearance as a substitute against Liverpool, David Luiz made his full debut at Craven Cottage. He was absolutely everywhere ferociously tackling, driving the team forwards and generally causing havoc all over the pitch.
The highlight being a 60-yard pass from outside the Chelsea box dropping at the feet of the misfiring Torres.
Luiz won the man of the match award despite giving away penalty, which was duly saved by Cech, but he also won the admiration of the crowd and became an instant fan favourite.
The match finished scoreless but with plenty to talk about.
Who was this Brazilian who seemed more intent on attacking than the primary defensive duties most centre backs relish?
Fancy dress shops in London probably thought Halloween had come early as it wasn’t long before thousands of Sideshow Bob style wigs were to be seen in the Chelsea crowds.
His comedic hair and cheeky grin was just an added bonus on top of the outstanding talent the man possessed, and it wasn’t long before he demonstrated to the league just how good he was.
Chelsea were 1-0 down to arch-rivals Manchester United when a tempting ball bounced across the path of Luiz. The defender smashed it home on the half-volley, inspiring a turnaround that led to Chelsea walking away with all three points.
We have become accustomed to moments like that from Chelsea’s number four, which makes it easy to forget his range of talents that are very rarely found in centre backs.
In football, as in life, there are always critics, and Luiz started to rapidly come under fire about his defensive capabilities.
It's all very well being able spray balls from the defence and score clutches of goals, but if you can’t defend then the Premier League is not the place for you.
He was regularly accused of rash and over the top tackling and many pundits were questioning whether he could really have a future in England due to his playing style.
His drives up the pitch from the back were becoming a regular occurrence and whilst the team was learning to adapt and cover him in those situations, there were times when he was caught out of position 40-yards away from where he needed to be.
Us football fans can be a demanding and brutal bunch and so it is impressive he managed to make it through that period without falling out of favour completely.
There were plenty calling for Ivanovic’s head last season after just one dodgy cup game against Swansea so, Luiz could count himself lucky to have always somehow managed to stay in the fans good books.
I suppose 30-yard cannon blast goals will have that effect though.
His second season with the club was sensational and the doubts people had over his defensive abilities were completely squashed during Chelsea’s historic Champions League run. Few could possibly claim the man is a liability after his heroics against Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Solid defending was all that was missing from Luiz’s amazing array of skills and low and behold that summer some of Europe's big guns started sniffing around.
Barcelona were reportedly very interested in bringing him to the Camp Nou but thankfully the top dogs at Chelsea knew how irreplaceable Luiz was and refused every offer that was received.
Last season he picked up where he left off and with an injury to stalwart John Terry, became the leader at the back Chelsea had always missed without the skipper.
Not only that but Benitez, in an attempt to win some favour with the Chelsea fans started giving Luiz game time in the defensive-midfield, leading to some remarkable displays and inspirational goals.
After his sensational performances last season and at this summer's Confederations Cup, it is not surprising to find that Europe’s elite have him on their radar once again.
The Daily Mail are reporting Guardiola is very keen to add him to his already bulging Bayern Munich squad, PSG apparently want to team him up with international team-mate Thiago Silva and of course Barcelona have renewed their annual interest in the clubs prize possession.
Once again Chelsea must fend off any advances made.
We saw from Luiz last season what many expected and wanted from him since he first signed for the club.
Intuitive runs forward, top drawer goals, expert passing and most importantly reliable defending. Alan Shearer was left eating his own words after chastising the Brazilian before the Confederations Cup final.
After claiming he couldn’t defend Luiz locked the defence up tighter than a drum, despite having to cover for the rampaging Marcelo for most of the game.
This first-class defending combined with his marauding attacking threat and leadership abilities mean he is indispensable for the club and under no circumstances should be allowed to leave.
He has picked up Drogba’s mantle of number one favourite within the squad and with the fans. Rumblings coming from the club are saying the club value him highly and he is almost unanimously touted as the future captain.
Apart from anything else, moving now makes no sense for his career. Mourinho’s return and the young exciting squad Chelsea have amassed mean the club is about embark into a new era in its history and it certainly appears the club and manager have big plans for the Brazilian.
Sure he could move to Germany and team up with Pep but he would be joining an obscenely bloated squad where game time could be hard to come by. Or of course he could head over the English Channel to Paris, but why would you trade the Premier League for Ligue 1?
I personally view Luiz as Chelsea’s future. He epitomizes what the club is about now; exciting football, a youthful and positive outlook but with a steely determination to be as successful and dominant as the generation that is slowly being phased out.
He could be the glue that holds it all together and the leader the club will need once Terry finally bows out of the game.
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