David Luiz to PSG: Les Parisiens Sign Chelsea Star

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 23, 2014

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Updates from Friday, June 13

PSG confirmed the move as official on Friday, in an announcement on the club's website:

Paris Saint-Germain is delighted to announce the transfer of Brazilian international David Luiz from Chelsea FC, for the next five years. He will join up with the squad after the FIFA World Cup where he is playing with the Seleçao.

Updates from Wednesday, June 11

David Luiz spoke about his move to PSG and how long his contract is (via Bein Sports):

Now the 27-year-old, who is hoping to lead the Selecao to their sixth world title and their first on home soil, has confirmed he will be playing in Ligue 1 for the next five seasons.

“I have just signed a deal with PSG for five years,” he told Globo when asked if he intends to one day play in Brazil’s top flight. “I left for Europe when I was 18, I skipped a few steps… We’ll see. What we plan today may not be right tomorrow.”

Updates from Saturday, May 31

Goal.com's Staff provides a statement from David Luiz discussing his future with L'Equipe:

Yes, this is a new stage in my life, a new project in a new country with a new language. I was very happy at Chelsea, I won major titles, I made friends, I gained everybody’s respect, but I think I have come to the end of a cycle.

I will now begin another in Paris after the World Cup. I am very pleased, it will be announced when the transfer window opens and all documents will be finalised, but we can now talk and confirm that everything is okay. It's official: I'm joining PSG and I'll be very happy.

As I often say, I am privileged; I have played at big clubs in beautiful cities,” he added. “I'll have an opportunity to discover more with Paris Saint-Germain in Paris.

I cannot complain, I have to enjoy it and represent PSG as best I can. I will try to achieve our goals, win titles, and show who I really am. This is what I want for my future at PSG.


Original Text

For much of last summer, rumours persisted that David Luiz would be sold. Those whispers came a year too soon, however, as the Chelsea defender and midfielder has been sold to Paris Saint-Germain.

Chelsea announced the news on the club website:

Chelsea Football Club and Paris Saint-Germain have agreed terms for the transfer of David Luiz to the French club.

The move is now subject to David Luiz agreeing personal terms with PSG and passing a medical examination.

Luiz commented on the signing:

New York Times reporter Stefan Bienkowski reports the rumored fee:

However, Sky Sports quotes the fee as "believed to be costing the French club £50m." BBC Sports, on the other hand, believes the fee to be "worth in the region of £40m."

BBC's Dan Roan provides more commentary on the financials:

The defender was excellent for Chelsea a season ago and became a regular fixture in the starting 11 under interim manager Rafa Benitez. His versatility and athleticism were on full display, as he occasionally slid into the midfield and totaled six goals and four assists in all competitions.

Not a bad haul for a player who spent most of his time in central defense. 

However, rumourssuch as this one reported by The Sun (subscription required)— persisted throughout the summer that Luiz might be moved due to new manager Jose Mourinho's questions about his defending and decision-making.

Indeed, for all of Luiz's flair, he isn't the soundest defender and often is caught out of position after making a driving run forward.

Not surprisingly, while Mourinho didn't sell Luiz, he also didn't rely on him nearly as much as Benitez had, instead sticking with the pair of Gary Cahill and John Terry in central defense.

After making 30 appearances in the Premier League in 2012-13, he was reduced to 19 total appearances and just 15 starts this season, earning a 6.96 average match rating from WhoScored.com while failing to score a single goal and adding just one assist.

He was a bigger part of Chelsea's Champions League campaign, though, making eight appearances (seven starts) and earning a 7.22 average match rating in those contests.

Still, his role changed significantly under Mourinho. In games he started between the Premier League and Champions League, 12 came in central defense and 10 came in central midfield. Mourinho simply didn't trust him in a purely defensive role.

But that versatility will likely be considered a positive to PSG, which is getting a dynamic player and one that is far more poised on the ball than most centre-backs.

He has the rare blend of size and pace, meaning he is effective in the air but can also make up ground very quickly in defense. 

He is obviously skilled enough to play in the midfield and is one of the most dangerous players from distance on set pieces in the world. With his height, he is also a dangerous offensive weapon in the box on corners. 

He also has good perspective on his career, as he made clear when talking to Rob Harris of the Associated Press in early May about getting to represent Brazil in the World Cup.

"Everyone there loves football—200 million people want to be in the squad," Luiz said. "Everyone dreams to see someone from the family in the squad ... life is too short to miss some things as well to enjoy life. I have the best job in the world."

He's a unique player, so it's a bit surprising Chelsea sold him, though he did earn the team a neat profit after initially being bought from Benfica for £21 million.

It remains to be seen how Chelsea will replace him with their newfound transfer profits.

It will be just as intriguing to see how Luiz will fare in a new league, and perhaps back in his traditional centre-back role.

Mourinho never quite trusted Luiz. It will be interesting to see how much his new club trusts him and whether Luiz can prove he is worth its faith in his ability.


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