On any normal day, signing a 23 year old center back for over 20 million pounds plus a promising young player would be the talk of the Premier League. When it happens within minutes of stealing Fernando Torres from Liverpool, that story tends to become a footnote. Luiz has quietly managed to avoid the headlines in the wake of the other big move made Monday, but Chelsea fans should be just as excited about the arrival of Luiz as they are about Torres. Most of the information on the site about Luiz has been rumors and speculation, so let's take a look at whatLuiz actually brings to the table.
David Luiz stands 6'3" tall and turns 24 this April. At the age of 15, he moved from a defensive midfield role to the center of the defense and his career took off. He's one of the best young center backs in the world, and he's also capable of playing left back. He's not an attacking minded player in the mold of Ashley Cole, but he'd be perfectly acceptable as a defensive minded player filling much the same role as Branislav Ivanovic plays when stationed on the right. He's unlikely to see much time on the left here, however, as we are very deep on that left side. That's perfectly ok, as there isn't a club team in the world where Luiz wouldn't be a first choice center back.
Luiz is known for blending a physical style of play with fantastic passing and footwork. He's adequate in the air, but he's not going to be the primary option on set pieces for a club like Chelsea. His top end speed is above average for the position, but his game is not based on speed. Positional awareness is a very important aspect of his game because of this. A player of his skillset should age better than guys who base their game on raw athleticism, so it's reasonable to assume that Luiz is nowhere near his best form yet. It's also likely that he'll be an effective player into his 30's. Here is a little highlight package from his time at Benfica if you've never seen him:
Most of these highlights were from the last season, where Luiz was at his best. He was so good in fact that he was named the Portuguese League footballer of the year, marking only the third time in the awards history (since 1971) that it has gone to a defensive player (the other two were Bruno Alves and Ricardo Carvalho). He also earned the notice of the Brazilian national team, where he made his debut this past year. It's likely that he's now going to be the first choice center back of one of the elite footballing nations in the world.
One thing we won't expect to see from Luiz is controversy. Unlike many modern footballers, Luiz tends to live a very private life. He's unlikely to be found barhopping in downtown London with the likes of Ashley Cole or Wayne Rooney, and he's unlikely to make to many headlines with his interviews. He speaks very little English at this point, so it may be interesting to see how he and John Terry fare initially. It's not an unusual situation for Terry though, as neither Carvalho or Alex spoke anything but Portuguese when they made the switch to England.
I'd expect Luiz to be 1/2 of the defensive center pairing for the bulk of the next five seasons. He'll likely see somewhat limited action for the next several weeks as he adjusts to the move, and he won't be eligible for any of our remaining Champions League games this year. How he looks for the remainder of this season will likely be a large factor in many of our moves this summer, as his quality and versatility provide us any number of options in making our squad younger and better. With his quiet demeanor and deployment at center back, it's likely that Luiz will fly under the radar and not receive many headlines, especially when partnered with "Mr. Chelsea". He's going to be a key component of this team for a long time though, so don't forget he's here. I for one am ecstatic to have Luiz here, and am very pleased to see another piece of the long term puzzle sorted out. Here's one more little highlight clip to wet your whistles before we actually get to see Luiz in Chelsea blue: