David Luiz may be one of the oldest members of the squad at this point — only Cahill, Giroud, Caballero, and Green are older — he may only have one year left on his current contract, and he may be coming off of a terrible season spent largely in Conte’s doghouse and possibly while injured a lot, too, but he looks to be in for a mini-revival under Maurizio Sarri.
In fact, the new head coach tipped the defender for a big future at Chelsea, both on and off the pitch after our opening day 3-0 win at Huddersfield.
“I very much enjoy his attitude when I am working with him. He is also a very good player and a very good defender. David is very good at building up action from our defence with the way he plays. David has a big future here. He will be very useful for us but not just on the pitch, he is also important in the dressing room.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Guardian
What Sarri describes sure sounds like the ideal version of David Luiz, one that we’ve hoped for in every single one of his now 200 Chelsea appearances. While off the pitch, his character had always shone through, on the pitch, in just how many of those 200 he showed up as such is open to debate, as is whether he can be trusted to play in a back-four rather than a back-three setup — to be sure, the same could be asked of just about any of our current defenders, of both the center-back and the full/wing-back kind.
For Sarri however, there is no debate ... at least not yet.
“I disagree that he can only play as one of three central defenders. If you are a good defender you can play in a defensive line of three and you can also play in a four. I don’t know about what happened in the past but now he has a good chance. We only have to carry on like we are doing now with him.”
Sarri’s first-choice center back pairing appears to be David Luiz and Antonio Rüdiger right now, though that may change as others who returned from the World Cup at a later date become more familiar with the system. Young Andreas Christensen successfully displaced David Luiz last season, for example, and he may yet do so again. We shall have to wait and see, but for now, it sounds like our fate is in the hands of David Luiz and Rüdiger.