If Sky Sports Italia journalist Fabrizio Romano is to be believed – and all the evidence suggests that he is – then the latest piece of the jigsaw that is the Chelsea squad for next season has been completed. He states that Atletico Madrid’s Brazilian left-back Filipe Luis has signed for the Blues, and that all that is left is the official confirmation.
It’s been pretty much an open secret that we have been pursuing Luis, ever since it was revealed that the cost of signing Southampton’s Luke Shaw might have tipped over the £30 million mark. Luis will instead cost around £19 million (the size of his buy-out clause, it’s claimed) – a significant saving which will enable Chelsea to chase more of their transfer targets this summer.
The tough-tackling Luis has been thoroughly impressive for Atletico this season, as those who saw our two Champions League games against the Spanish side will testify. Intelligent, aware and uncompromising, he never seems to be in the wrong position and rarely gets beaten by an attacker. Perhaps Leighton Baines could watch a few videos of him in action before England’s next World Cup game.
It’s likely that Luis will be installed into the side immediately, at the expense of Cesar Azpilicueta. That should hopefully mean Azpilicueta can revert to his natural right-back position, and Ivanovic can then provide cover for that and the centre. This is perhaps a little harsh on the Serbian, but – excellent defender that he is – he has spent most of the last season proving that using him as an attacking full-back is a waste of his talents.
Is there a down side to this deal? Well, there always is if you look hard enough. Luis will be 29 in August and so is hardly a player for the future. Luke Shaw, who’s still a teenager, could well have held down the left-back position at the club for a decade or more. Furthermore, while Luis is currently a much better player than Shaw, he is currently at his peak. Shaw has the time and the talent to improve.
The only other negative factor is that he wears a headband. In general, footballers shouldn’t wear headbands – at least, not in England. At best it makes you look a little frail and weak; at worst, it makes you look like Andy Carroll.
Anyway, all the signs are that Luis and his headband are on their way to Stamford Bridge. Today, Atletico have all but confirmed that Fabrizio Romano knew exactly what he was talking about when he broke the news.
Talking to reporters, the club’s president Enrique Cerezo has admitted that Luis is likely to leave for Chelsea if the buy-out clause is triggered by a big enough offer, and confirmed that the left-back the Spanish side bought last week, Guilherme Siqueira, is being seen as Luis’s replacement.
It’s quite possible that four of the Atletico side that took the Spanish title will be playing in Chelsea blue next year. Any resemblance to the way Jose Mourinho dismantled his Champions League-winning Porto side and carted a large chunk of it off to Stamford Bridge with him a decade ago may not be coincidental.