Here’s the one fact that we know: David Luiz has only made 17 appearances for Chelsea this season. Anything beyond that, the how and the why, is speculation of some sort, be that logical and reasoned or emotional and reactionary.
The narrative is that the center back whom Antonio Conte called one of the best in the world just a few months prior fell out with the Chelsea head coach in October and since then has been heading towards the exit door, Diego Costa-style. The trouble with this story is that David Luiz has played a few times since that supposed incident (4, including 3 starts, to be exact) and has been on the bench more often than not, injuries permitting. Of course, Costa and Conte actually worked together quite well in a professional capacity right up to the bitter end, so maybe this doesn’t mean anything.
The other problem with the overall narrative is that it does not account for David Luiz’s injuries, which have been repeatedly confirmed by Conte and not denied by the player or media reports (i.e. not a Mikel situation). Still, it’s easy to call fake news on this “convenient” (?) excuse, even if the knee problem that bothered him all throughout November and December is clearly linked back to Sergio “not that type of player” Aguero’s assault on him at the Bridge the previous year.
David seemed to get better in January and early February, making those aforementioned four appearances, but since then has been sidelined with a more mysterious injury in his foot. Some sources have specified it as a malleolar (i.e. ankle) injury. Either way, he has not been seen in a lineup or the bench since early February. Conte has said that he’d be surprised if the curly haired one was able to return before the end of the season, but did also confirm that he is “working hard” to do so.
The assumption that Conte would actually pick David Luiz even if he were available is not easily made however. And perhaps with good cause. David’s form had dropped off precipitously from last season when things got underway again in August. Before taking time off to heal his knee, he had already lost his place to Andreas Christensen. And his last appearance during his brief return was in the 4-1 drubbing administered by Watford, which was probably Chelsea’s worst game of the season (and that’s saying something!). He may or may not have already been carrying the ankle/foot injury, in his defense, but it’s hard to see him as anything higher than the fifth of the five choices at center back these days.
So, where does that all leave us?
It leaves us in a place where David Luiz is probably leaving this summer, regardless of circumstance or head coach. Goal’s Nizaar Kinsella, for example, ties the 31-year-old’s future to Conte, but with him entering the final year of his three-year contract, at his age, with the season he’s just had, it’s hard to see Chelsea keeping David around as we embark on another rebuilding mission. It’s by far the most likely outcome that both Conte and David Luiz will depart in the next few months.
As per the report, one interested party could be Monaco, where Michael Emenalo’s overseeing things as director of football. Emenalo had overseen Chelsea acquire David Luiz twice; perhaps he’ll make that a third just for good measure in the Principality. Chelsea would be unlikely to drive a hard bargain for a man with an expiring contract deemed surplus to requirements. It would not be beyond reason to see David return to Ligue 1, even as he starts putting down roots in London.
If that were to happen, hopefully David Luiz can make it back on to the pitch in a Chelsea shirt one last time, maybe on the final day of the season or maybe to score the winning penalty kick against Manchester United in the FA Cup final!