Antonio Conte has put an end to speculation regarding where in the Chelsea team the club’s new signing David Luiz, returning for his second spell at Stamford Bridge, will play in his new look side.
The Brazilian first joined the West London club from Portuguese side Benfica in 2011 for a fee of around €25 million. He remained at Stamford Bridge until June of 2014 when he was sold to the French side Paris Saint-Germain for £50 million, a fee that remains a record amount for a defender. During his time in the Premier League he became something of a cult figure with the Chelsea faithful, despite his often erratic performances.
He re-signed for the Blues on Transfer Deadline Day for £30 million, having won two Ligue 1 championships and the same number of Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue medials during his time in France. Now he is hoping to repeat that trick with his former club and told the official Chelsea website that he’d turn out in any position if it would help the team. He said, “I started playing three at the back with Vitoria in Brazil, but it doesn’t matter where, I want to help and when I am in the team I am there to try to help”.
Though he’s most commonly played in the middle of the back-four, the 29-year-old has been used in any number of positions throughout his career. Antonio Conte, however, is convinced that centre-back is the Brazilian’s defenders best position and he’d be wasted anywhere else. Speaking to Chelsea’s official website he said, “I think David Luiz is a centre-back, he’s played a lot of games in that position”.
Conte was keen to bring some fresh blood into a backline that has been depending on an ageing John Terry for far too long. Some pundits questioned whether Luiz, who is naturally attack-minded for a defender, might be employed as a midfielder at Stamford Bridge. Conte, though, put paid to that idea by saying, “I know sometimes he’s played as a central midfielder but in my mind the idea is to utilise him in the right position which, for me, is centre-back. He’s played with Chelsea previously and he will bring a good personality”.
Luiz wasn’t the only defender brought in by the former Italy national manager, with Marcos Alonso also bolstering the defence ranks at Stamford Bridge. The 25-year-old has previously played in the Premier League for both Sunderland and Bolton Wanderers, meaning that both of Chelsea’s signings at the back know what it means to do battle in the English top-flight.
Chelsea missed out on numerous high-profile targets this summer but Conte is adamant that the players the club have brought in will strengthen the squad moving forward. He said, “We reached our targets, David Luiz and Marcos Alonso are two good signings for us. Now we have to work with them because I think they can improve our squad.”.
Chelsea travel to The Liberty Stadium this Sunday as Premier League action returns after international matches. Conte believes that it is vital to integrate his new signings as soon as possible and that the Blues will need to be concentrated against the Swans if they’re hoping to maintain their 100% start to the season. He said, “We need to put them into our idea of football. Now we must work on our defensive situation and with the defensive line. We need to improve our physical and tactical condition”.
”After the international break it’s always very tough to restart”, continued Conte, “because many players don’t arrive back until the end of the week, but we must quickly find our concentration and be focused because we know we play a tough game against Swansea and we want to prepare in the best way”.