It still hasn’t sunk in properly that David Luiz, our very own Geezer, has left Chelsea for the second time in his career, and this time not only for good, but for direct rivals Arsenal.
Naturally, Chelsea head coach and one-time teammate of David Luiz, Frank Lampard, was subjected to a barrage of questions related to this shocking development in his pre-match press conference on Friday. Not unexpectedly, Lampard was well prepared to answer the questions in a diplomatic manner with minimal controversial material to feed the media.
“David Luiz has obviously left and gone to Arsenal. We had some honest conversations over the last week because I know him well and the conclusion of that was he is gone. It’s an area of the pitch where we have competition. I don’t have number ones or twos. They have to fight for that shirt. I wish him the best because he has been a big part of our history.
“There certainly wasn’t a strike or fallout so I want to make that clear straight away. I always expected honesty from a manager whatever the news and I think I got that back from David. The day David didn’t train was a decision that I made because it was clear the way we were going. I am very happy with the squad I have got now and my focus is working on that.”
Whether that’s the honest truth or well-managed PR is up for debate. David himself just said his “cycle” at Chelsea has ended (again). Perhaps Lampard pointing out that he does not have “number ones or twos” is the closest hint we’ll get as to why these “conversations” had to happen this past week, and why the 32-year-old center back decided to leave. It certainly does not sound like he was pushed out, but Lampard also didn’t exactly block the move.
It is what it is then. David Luiz’s transfer to Arsenal makes him the 30th player to feature for both teams — so not exactly that rare — and the 10th to do so just in the 2000s: Anelka, Benayoun, Cech, A.Cole, David Luiz, Lass.Diarra, Fabregas, Gallas, Giroud, Petit.
While David does have a set of well-noted defensive issues, the quality he brings on the ball and in the dressing room cannot be denied. It is in fact those qualities, which make this transfer so perplexing. Lampard didn’t really have a good explanation here, perhaps indicating that the situation did in fact deteriorate beyond repair for whatever reason.
“I don’t think you can always dictate where a player goes, it depends on the situation. It was close to the deadline and Arsenal wanted him so we had to make a decision as a club.
“The decision was that David moves to Arsenal and I focus on what we have got here. Of course, he is a good player and he goes to a competitor but that’s what the situation was.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Watching David Luiz in red will be odd and perhaps painful, even, given his big part in Chelsea’s recent history, but moving from Chelsea to Arsenal has been far less successful for the players involved in terms of winning silverware than the other way round. Long may that theme continue.