Working the late-shift as I do every Monday to Friday I sat there doing my job in a busy office environment totally oblivious to the reports that had emerged from Chelsea's training ground. In fact, it was a Tottenham fan looking at Sky Sports on his phone that informed me - David Luiz wants to leave Chelsea and is about to sign for Arsenal.
If you check my Twitter account here
, you will see my initial reaction to the rumour was "Rubbish" and I openly stated to anyone that wanted to listen in our office that it was pure speculation based on Transfer Deadline Day! As last night moved forward it became clear that there was truth in the reports, there was legitimate substance and a deal was looking likely. How on earth could it come to this was all I was thinking heading home.
Watching Social Media and the respected Journalists I follow, it became clear that this was not some flash in the pan, instinctive decision but something that had started at the beginning of the week and rumbled on into today to the point that Frank Lampard
decided to stand firm and remind everyone in that training ground that he will not stand for player power, anyone deemed as being disruptive will be deal with one way or another. David Luiz
was made the example and told to train away from the first-team squad.
The reason? We will probably never hear 100% truth straight from the horses mouth from Luiz
or Frank Lampard
but it is being reported that after watching pre-season and the goals we have conceded, it was made clear to David Luiz
that he needed to do much better at the defensive side of his game and he was told that he will not be named in the starting eleven to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday with Andreas Christensen
partnering Kurt Zouma
As you can imagine Luiz
wasn't happy and took offence to the critique he had been given, kicking off and causing disruption which looks to have continued through to Tuesday, culminating in the decision being taken by Frank Lampard
to take him away from the first-team and to inform the club to sell him to the highest bidder. Arsenal are now set to sign him for a fee of around £10m despite the fact that he had signed a new two-year contract. It should be confirmed as early as lunchtime today.
Reading these reports tonight has left me feeling all-sorts of emotions. I am angry at the situation, this is the SECOND time Luiz
has forced a move away from Chelsea. The fact that for the past month Frank
and the coaching team have been working hard to get the players fit, to build the foundations of a relationship between them that will form the base of something that will hopefully develop into something special as the season goes on - for the players to respond and play for him in addition to themselves. It's the second time in the space of three seasons where Luiz
has kicked off at the manager for a decision taken regarding the best for the team. He did it against Conte
and was banished from the first-team for the remainder of the season (Conte's
second season) and now he is doing it again under Frank Lampard
I then feel sad because he has been an important personality in our dressing room in both spells he has had at our football club. He looks like someone who brings people together, encourages people when he is positive and can be a real influence on the younger ones as we have seen with Mason Mount
this pre-season. Without question, when he wants to be, David Luiz
is a leader and that's something we are lacking now big-time.
You think of David Luiz
the defender and there are always arguments for and against him playing. When his head isn't right or he loses focus on the job at hand he is a liability and someone you cannot afford to have in the side. When he plays like that he lacks discipline which has been highlighted numerous times by pundits and journalists alike.
However, when we get the David Luiz
of Antonio Conte's
title winning season, Luiz
first back at Chelsea after returning from PSG, we see exactly what he is more than capable of. In that season playing in the middle of a back-three he played with poise, discipline, focus and determination. He can read the game fantastic, he finds himself in the right position to deal with balls into the box, people trying to run passed him and making important tackles in the right areas whilst holding his position. Unfortunately, last season and this pre-season he hasn't been anywhere near the player he was for Conte.
So why Arsenal? Well he has played for Dick Emery
before at PSG and they have their agent in common which is always a bonus when it comes to transfer deadline day. Let's not forget, Arsenal are on the lookout for a centre-half having watched Koscielny
force his way out of The Emirates this summer only to then allow him to film himself rip off the Arsenal shirt to reveal his new Bordeaux shirt AT THEIR OWN TRAINING GROUND!!!
A mate of mine at work - a Gooner said to me as I was leaving - "Imagine our back four this season being marshaled by David Luiz and Mustafi!"
- even he knows!
I want to finish up by saying that I do not know what goes on inside players heads. I do not know if its the agent doing it or they are just plain stupid enough to think that anyone should have a devine right to be more important that anyone else at the football club. Look at Eden Hazard
and how he has conducted himself throughout his time at Chelsea. He never demanded that he was to be treated as important or more important than anyone else - he did ALL of his talking in the right way on the pitch in training and on match-days.David Luiz
came to Chelsea from Benfica and leaves us having achieved so much, winning so much and playing a pivotal part in our Champions League, Premier League, Europa League, FA and League Cup successes that in a way, he spoils all that now with how he has acted to force his way out and cause the problems that is being reported that he has.
I hope that one day in the future when he does hang-up his boots and the dust settles on his career that Chelsea fans will look back and remember him as being one of our greats, someone who deserves the plaudits for what he achieved here and for the night in Munich, having not trained with the first-team for a month after a hamstring injury, to play 120 minutes and score an all-important penalty in the shoot-out. He was outstanding that night.
It's such a shame it has come to this today. As re-iterated today at Cobham, Surrey by Frank Lampard
to David Luiz
- No-one is bigger than Chelsea Football Club.
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