Chelsea’s new signing David Luiz, who is returning to Stamford Bridge for a second spell, has told the club’s official website that he’s happy to play wherever he’s needed in Antonio Conte’s new look side.
The 29-year-old was signed by the Blues in January of 2011 for a fee believed to be in the region of €25 million. In June of 2014 he left the club to join the French side Paris Saint-Germain in a £50 million move, singing a five year contract with the Ligue 1 team. Then, on transfer deadline day last month he returned to West London for a deal believed to be worth £34 million.
Chelsea’s new head coach Antonio Conte had been chasing a new defender all summer, missing out on several top targets. He was hoping to add some youth and versatility to an ageing backline and Luiz will be able to provide that. Although he is usually used as a centre-half he can play in any number of positions around the backline and even as a defensive midfielder.
He told the Chelsea website, “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”. The reference to three at the back was made because that is a formation that Conte has employed in the past, including when he was the manager of his former club Juventus and when he was in charge of the Italy national side. His regular use of it has led some to believe that he’s hoping to make use of it with his Chelsea team, too.
The Brazilian is confident that Conte will get his tactics right, whatever he chooses to do. He said, “The coach is an amazing coach, he understands a lot of tactical things and I know he chooses every match the best line up, so if he needs to play three, four or two, it doesn’t matter, I am there if he wants me to play. In different positions I am available”.
Conte’s desire for fresh blood in the Chelsea defence was also boosted by the arrival of Marcus Alonso from Fiorentina. Cesar Azpilicueta has been filling in on the left side of defence but prefers to play at right-back; something that should now be possible for Conte to accommodate given that Alonso is a specialist left-back.
In an interview with Chelsea TV, the club’s official television channel, the Italian manager declared his confidence that the new signings will make a difference for the West London club in the rest of campaign. He said, “They can improve our squad and now it is right to work with David Luiz and Marcus Alonso to put them in our idea of football”.
However the former Juventus player believes that hard work lies ahead if Chelsea are to become a force in the Premier League once more.It is not just defensive work that his players need to be focussed on, but also on their fitness. Having endured a terrible campaign that saw José Mourinho sacked and the club limp to a tenth-place finish as well as fail to win any silverware, Conte is determined to see hard work become the players’ motto.
Speaking to Chelsea TV about the work ahead he said, “Now we have to work on the defensive situation, on the defensive line. We have to work to improve our physical condition, our tactical condition and to try to continue our good season”.
The Blues have won their opening three fixtures of the Premier League campaign and are due to head to Swansea when hostilities renew after the international break. They then have a tricky home tie against top-four rivals Liverpool before travelling to play the team that took the Premier League crown off them last season, Leicester City. Conte will be hopeful that his new signings can keep the good mood going at Stamford Bridge.