Chelsea’s David Luiz is one of the older players in their ranks and he has seen it all during his six-year stint at the club. Since signing for the Blues in 2011, the Brazilian center-back has worked under seven different managers. This excludes his two-year absence having signed for PSG in what was a then record £50m transfer fee for a defender.
Maurizio Sarri will be the next manager he works under and Luiz is excited about this new prospect if reports from their pre-season tour are anything to go by. It goes without saying that the departure of Antonio Conte might have come as a welcome reprieve for the defender who had been relegated to the bench owing to a combination of injury and differences with his former boss.
Today we take a look at what his new role will look like as we examine his suitability to play in different positions.
Chelsea are expected to make a shift to a 4-3-3 formation in the new season, a very clear departure from the 3-5-2, 3-4-3 variation they played under Conte. Luiz will be competing for two regular central defence spots alongside, Gary Cahill, Ethan Ampadu, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and any other new signing Chelsea might bring on board.
The Blues are be expected to play a possession-based type of football where attention to detail is critical. Luiz has shown moments of lack of concentration in the past, but he has also proved his critics wrong when called upon, like was the case in their title-winning campaign under Conte.
An opportunity to impress under Sarri is more than welcome for the 31-year-old. He is a ball playing defender with immense ability to distribute the ball and launch attacks from a deep-lying position. This is in the frame of a typical Sarri center-back and he will want to grab this chance and run with it.
Data from WhoScored shows that he has a high passing accuracy for a defender and this is probably what puts him apart from the rest. He averaged 85.4% passing accuracy last season and this will be key especially when they need to keep possession.
He also happens to average more passes per game than most defenders. He recorded 49.2 passes per 90 last season despite not being fit for a good part of the campaign. This attribute makes him versatile as he could be utilized in a deep-lying midfield position.
Furthermore, he is a mature player with a lot of experience at the very highest level and he can organize play in midfield when called upon.
The injury that saw him sidelined for a good part of last season is now behind him and he looks fit. He played for 90 minutes in Chelsea’s friendly fixture against Perth Glory and he looked comfortable in the new system. He will be expected to provide a perfect option for the new coach in central defence and the midfield as he sets forth to write a new chapter of his time in a Chelsea shirt.