One of the more encouraging snippets of hope from last season was signing a sensational centreback in David Luiz. His arrival at the last minute of the winter transfer window might have been overshadowed by a certain Spanish striker, but since then Luiz has justified the money Chelsea paid for the Brazilian. And Luiz even scored more goals than Fernando Torres.
Small wonder that he has attracted covetous glances after not even 6 months. No less than FC Barcelona, the world`s most self-righteous club, appear to be interested, and have put that interest into motion in a way that seems like textbook tapping up. What is surprising is that Barça are trying to sign him in such an underhand manner. Barça coach Pep Guardiola likes the cut of Luiz`s jib and considers that the Brazilian could do very well at the Nou Camp, he`s therefore given the green light for the transfer.
So says pro-Barça daily newspaper ‘Sport`, which gushes on about how excellent the player is: his character, his ability to withstand pressure, but also his youth, his capacity to grow, his speed and his size. Thanks for that, ‘Sport`, us Chelsea fans know all that. And so does the Chelsea hierarchy, which is why they signed the bloke.
So Barça President Sandro Rossell, fresh from launching into an astonishing tirade against Real Madrid from his favoured standpoint of the moral highground, began the kind of underhand and sneaky manoeuvre that he himself denounces when anyone else does it. In Brazil to watch a tribute game for Ronaldinho, Rossell met with David Luiz`s agent to communicate Barça`s interest in the player. It goes without saying that this took place without any permission from Chelsea. What is worrying is that Luiz`s agent replied that he would be delighted to hear what Barça had to offer.
Helpfully ‘Sport` declares that the fact that Luiz is currently under contract with Chelsea, and that that could be a problem: the Blues signed Luiz at the end of January for ?25 million plus Nemanja Matic, and have tied down the defender for over 4 years. Those numbers put the player completely outside Barça`s reach, unless the Catalans will decide that, as with Fabregas, selling clubs need to give Barça a discount for being.
Which means that Barça would need to discuss directly with Chelsea. But Chelsea have absolutely no interest in selling the player. Nevertheless ‘Sport` ventures a sum of ?30 million as being the kind of number that Chelsea would be expecting. Try ‘nothing at all`: there is no reason why the hell Chelsea should wish to lose one of their very best players, and even less reason to do a favour to Barcelona.
At the moment, Luiz is in Brazil with his national team, preparing the Copa America. As always, these official tournaments are a nuisance for clubs, who have much less control over the destabilising that can take place outside the clubs watchful eye.
If this rumour is true, it seems like a tap-up. Chelsea do not want to sell David Luiz, and do not welcome Barça`s interest. What they would also not appreciate is Barça`s attempts to get in contact with the player, without Chelsea`s permission. But then again, Barça have previous in this kind of behaviour: as our neighbours from North London will attest, Barça have done their utmost to destabilise Cesc Fabregas under the flimsy excuse that the midfielder is Catalan and therefore needs to return to some bogus spiritual home at the Nou Camp. Having turned Cesc`s head, therefore significantly affecting his play, Barça are now saying that the player`s value went down last season and that therefore they are not prepared to pay the ?40 million that Arsenal are saying is his price, failing to point out that his value went down because of Barça`s behaviour.
For a club that prides itself on values that fool only their own devotees and apologists, Barça can behave in a pretty underhand, deceitful and dishonest fashion. Their slogan is ‘Mes que un club` – more than a club. And yet, in many areas (their own players cheating and diving as well as the way they behave in the transfer market) they are, in fact, just as bad as everyone else, but with the added hypocrisy. If this tap-up of one of Chelsea`s best players is true, hopefully Chelsea can react in the strongest possible fashion to slam Barca.