Chelsea must dismiss Barcelona's bid for Luiz

Posted by Phil Lythell

Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty ImagesDavid Luiz's future at Chelsea is in doubt after several sub-par performances that have put him in Jose Mourinho's doghouse.

The news that Barcelona have made a bid for Chelsea's David Luiz comes as little surprise. The BBC are reporting that the Spanish giants have offered a 35-million-pound straight-cash deal for the Brazilian defender to cement the whisperings that have been doing the rounds for the past few weeks about their interest in the player.

While talk of offers should be routinely treated with suspicion, that it emanated from the BBC adds a certain weight given they demand verification from two independent sources before posting a story. Of course, the eagle-eyed amongst you will remember that they also relayed the erroneous claim Chelsea offered Juan Mata or Luiz plus £10m for Wayne Rooney last month, though they can be excused on that account due to those details being disseminated by Manchester United’s mischievous public relations department.

-Barca's Martino coy on Luiz

The bid makes perfect sense, bearing in mind the style Barcelona have made their trademark over the past decade. The Catalans love the constituents of their back line to be ball-players first and defenders second and are particularly fond of playing defensive midfielders as nominal central backs.

Edmilson, Javier Mascherano, Sergio Busquets and Alex Song can all attest to that. Luiz's attack-minded demeanour and creative instinct would mesh perfectly with Barcelona’s modus operandi, slotting seamlessly into their intricate passing philosophy.

Chelsea selling him, however, makes a good deal less sense for a number of reasons. When the now 26-year-old signed for Chelsea in January 2011 from Benfica for a sum believed to be about £23m with Nemanja Matic going the other way, there were several eyebrows raised at the deal. Those doubts were enhanced still further after an erratic first 18 months at Stamford Bridge as Luiz's erratic performances veered wildly between the sublime and the ridiculous.

Last summer, there were rumours Barcelona were lining up a big-money bid and yet nothing came to fruition, presumably because Chelsea were not interested in selling. In the last 12 months, Luiz's displays have reflected his exorbitant transfer fee as he has adapted and grown into his role to become the dominant defensive figure at Chelsea. He has also shone on the international stage, casting the vaunted Thiago Silva into the shade during his man-of-the-match performance in Brazil's Confederations Cup final win over Spain.

Given Luiz’s upturn in fortunes and burgeoning status in the Chelsea squad, why on earth would Chelsea decide to cash in on him now just when he appears to be evolving onto the model of the modern centre back?

There are also a number of other issues to consider. With John Terry’s future involvement still unclear and Frank Lampard unlikely to be a permanent fixture in the starting XI, there is a potential leadership vacuum within the team, something that could damage a team -- however talented -- when the business end of the season rolls around.

Luiz is still prone to making emotional decisions on the field, especially when events do not go in his favour, but he is frequently an example that the rest can follow both in his deeds and his attitude. Indeed, it would be little surprise if he was given the captain's armband on a regular basis in the absence of Terry and Lampard.

The departure of such a high-profile figure would also serve to undermine manager Jose Mourinho just weeks after returning to the club. The Portuguese was insistent when quizzed about player exits, unequivocally stating nobody in his squad would be sold in this transfer window. To let Luiz go now would weaken his position in the eyes of the players and the fans and potentially give Chelsea’s opponents a psychological boost, leaving them thinking that this new incarnation was not nearly so 'special' as before.

Then there is always the reality that by selling Luiz to Barcelona, Chelsea would be reinforcing one of their fiercest continental rivals by allowing one of their best players to join them. The Blues harbour pretensions to more Champions League glory, but their hopes would only be diminished if they succumbed to Barca’s advances.

And then there is the fact that Chelsea would be forced to enter the transfer market for a centre-back as just Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill and Terry would remain as viable options with Thomas Kalas still too young and inexperienced to feature regularly. The transfer window is only open another 26 days, meaning any negotiations would need to be rushed and almost certainly costly seeing as the selling club will be fully aware that Chelsea would have a hefty sum of cash burning a hole in their pocket.

Barcelona might raise their bid higher and higher and make their offer so ridiculous Chelsea could not possibly refuse it. But unless the Catalans have a bottomless pit of cash or Luiz himself starts agitating for a move -- which is highly unlikely given his undeniable affection for the club -- the odds of him swapping Stamford Bridge for Camp Nou appear as remote as they were 24 hours ago.

Follow Phil Lythell on Twitter @PhilLythell


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