David Luiz is set to make his return from injury in Saturday’s FA Cup test at Norwich City, expected to start or at least be a part of the matchday squad for the first time in a month and a half. David last saw the pitch in Chelsea’s 4-0 win over Qarabag FK in the Champions League group stage back on November 22nd.
Since then, he’s battled not only a serious knee inflammation but a serious rise in transfer rumors, citing a supposed fallout between him and head coach Antonio Conte, as well as the emergence of Andreas Christensen as Conte’s first-choice for the middle position of Chelsea’s three-man defence.
But as David Luiz’s fitness improved, the transfer rumors have started waning. In fact, according to the latest from UOL Esporte, Chelsea are definitely not going to sell the defender in January, even though this would be the time to maximize any transfer fee we could collect for him.
Pressão de dono mantém David Luiz no Chelsea após problema com Conte https://t.co/j35HNYJctw pic.twitter.com/wF7pZvJjIi— UOL Esporte (@UOLEsporte) January 5, 2018
As per UOL’s report, the direction has come straight from the top, with Roman Abramovich determined for Chelsea to not lose David Luiz for a second time and voicing his wishes to his executive staff at the club. The message was also passed to Conte, who was convinced by the owner and has assured the player the he has a role to play yet this season (even if Christensen remains the preferred option in the backline).
While the prospect of using David Luiz to collect a hefty transfer fee and thus funds to finance further acquisitions is a potentially useful one, keeping him around makes sense from a squad-chemistry and squad-building point of view. David Luiz is a glue player, a big and strong dressing room personality, as well as a fan favorite.
So, he stays. For now. We’ll revisit the issue in the summer, no doubt, especially with his contract set to enter its last year, but until then, hopefully he can rediscover last season’s good relationship with Conte, and return to his head-turningly excellent form of Chelsea’s title-winning efforts.