While Chelsea weren’t all that involved in the transfer market this summer, they perhaps provided the biggest shocker approaching Deadline Day.
On Wednesday, reports claiming that Brazilian defender David Luiz had refused to train with the rest of the Blues squad in order to force a move to rivals Arsenal emerged from multiple outlets. This came as quite the surprise given the fact that the center-back signed a two-year deal in May and had some pretty good things to say about new boss Frank Lampard and his methods.
As dubious as it seemed, all of the top news sources in England reported as much and, two days later, Luiz had moved to the Emirates for £8m. The Brazilian would later explain the move, claiming that he loved taking on challenges and did not shy away from the opportunity to open up a new chapter although he knows most players would have been afraid to leave Chelsea for such a bitter rival.
Lampard, meanwhile, spoke to the media on Friday, ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League opener against Manchester United. And the former England midfielder denied that Luiz had skipped training of his own accord, telling reporters that he had some honest conversations with the defender before sanctioning the move away.
“We had some conversations over the last week, honest ones, and the conclusion was that he should move on,” the Chelsea manager said. “There wasn’t any strikes. No fall-outs, just honest conversations.”
The coach also explained that he has several options for central defense, which would have made it difficult for Luiz to be a permanent starter although he played all but one pre-season fixture. The Blues have Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori as central options while Germany international Antonio Rudiger is nearing a return to playing, having joined his teammates for training prior to the start of the season.
“Him not training was a decision I made at the time,” Lampard continued. “It’s a position that I have a lot of competition in – everyone has to understand that. He has moved on and we wish him the absolute best, because he has been a big part of our history.”
The Blues were only able to add Christian Pulisic to their squad this summer after getting banned from signing players for two windows and the odds are now stacked against them. As it stands, they’re 33/1 to win the Premier League title with Bet365 and if you’re looking for guidance on choosing the best bookmakers with which to lodge your football bets, then it’s probably worth checking out https://www.freebets.co.uk/bookmakers.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have brought in several new players, including Luiz, yet they’re still considered longshots by Bet365 who have them at 50/1. Unai Emery has wasted no time strengthening his squad, with his most high-profile transfer coming in the form of Nicolas Pepe. The Spaniard has put his team in a much better position to win silverware this season but his first priority should be taking them back to the top four.
Sky Bet has both the Blues and Gunners at 11/8 to finish in a Champions League place, while United are at 11/10 and Tottenham are considered a lock at 1/2.
Lampard is certainly relishing the challenge of defying the odds with Chelsea this season and it will be interesting to see how he fares in his first big managerial stint. As for Luiz, it will likely be a moment to forget when he steps foot inside Stamford Bridge again.