David Luiz trained away from the rest of Chelsea’s first team squad on Wednesday and is considering his future amid interest from Arsenal. Unai Emery is desperate to add a centre-half to his squad having seen club captain Laurent Koscielny spurn the offer of an olive branch and complete a move to Bordeaux.
New signing William Saliba will spend the upcoming season back on loan at Saint-Etienne, Shkodran Mustafi has endured a difficult pre-season during which he was booed by his own supporters against Lyon, while Rob Holding has only just returned to full training following a cruciate knee ligament injury. Arsenal have been priced out of moves for Daniele Rugani of Juventus and RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano, but are likely to make a late attempt to prise Luiz from Chelsea in what remains of the summer window.
The 32-year-old had featured prominently in pre-season under new Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and had previously spoken about the positive impact his former teammate had had on dressing room morale.
According to the Evening Standard, however, Luiz was worried at having been left out the starting line-up against Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend and is concerned at how much playing time he will be afforded by Lampard. Luiz was a mainstay of Maurizio Sarri’s side last season and played a pivotal role in the club’s Europa League triumph and marshalled a defence which helped secure a top three finish in the Premier League.
The Brazil international was one of the few Chelsea players to have publicly backed the Italian who became a devisive figure during his one-year tenure at Stamford Bridge. Asked if he wanted Chelsea to keep Sarri, Luiz said after the 4-1 win against Arsenal in Baku: ‘Yes. Because he is doing great. He did great during the season even with all the difficulties we had.
‘In life sometimes you have to try to understand who is on the other side. Sometimes you need to reflect and analyse a little bit how difficult it was for him to be here today. He was training many, many clubs in the lower divisions. ‘He was doing one job (banker) and then he quit to try a big journey and do something in football.
Today he arrives in a big final and to do great like that, of course there is going to be emotion. ‘Of course, for us, it’s emotional because we have a history of life to be here today. He deserved that, it was a fantastic season for him.’ Despite Sarri’s departure, Luiz appeared to commit his future to Chelsea by signing a new two-year contract at the end of the season but, according to reports, Lampard is happy to sanction his most experienced defender’s departure with less than 24 hours of the transfer window remaining.