By Jennifer Juneau
He didn’t come with a 50 million pound price tag, but what came for half the price proved twice his weight in gold when on 1 March David Luiz, Chelsea FC’s new multi-talented signing, sealed his fate at Stamford Bridge.
When a ball from Branislav Ivanovic fell in front of him so fluently, Luiz acted quickly and vollyed it past Edwin van der Sar in the ninth minute to the second half. It seemed so natural that fans not only hope to see more performances like this in the future, they expect it.
Manchester United’s goalkeeper never saw it coming. Neither did anyone else, who still wait for Chelsea’s other current signing, Fernando Torres, to prove his worth.
Two signings. One star. What’s in a name? Apparently 50 million pounds.
For now it’s the twenty-three-year-old São Paulo born player that has everyone in the football world talking, because let’s face it, where is the pressure to score goals when you’ve been signed as a defender? His first starting game against Fulham earned him Barclays Man of the Match and his energy on the pitch hasn’t disappointed fans since.
When the January transfer window shut and Chelsea introduced Torres and Luiz, the focus was on the ex-Liverpool striker and Luiz’s name became drowned out in the Torres buzz. Not only because Chelsea and Torres fans trusted no. 9 to bring Chelsea out of their slump, but because the monetary value placed on Torres to perform miracles was horrendous.
Now ironically, with all of Torres’s talent foot-dragging to the surface, the high price has taken its toll on the player, keeping his loyal followers making yet more excuses for being goal-shy. The latest excuse? — he’s under pressure.
But don’t write the ex-Reds player off yet. Little by little his proficiency is rising and soon enough he’ll be back in the game.
Compared to Torres’s first couple of matches with Chelsea against Liverpool and Fulham, the striker is starting to wake up. In Chelsea’s last match against Manchester United, he seemed more at ease with his Blues teammates.
If anyone is confident Torres will explode on a scoring tear soon, it’s Carlo Ancelotti. Or it could be that he is just exhausting his money’s worth, but Ancelotti has started Torres, leaving Chelsea’s top scorer Didier Drogba warming the bench.
Rightfully so. Drogba has demonstrated in past matches that he prefers to go solo.
It is difficult to imagine the two players connecting and by starting Torres Ancelotti might be defending his proposed mistake—not a mistake by signing Torres, but placing a high value on his commodity to clean Chelsea’s record up.
But the fact that Torres said in an interview with Chelsea Magazine that he is adaptable to any team’s style of playing may go against him.
During the Manchester United match Torres was wide open to receive the ball from Drogba who took the liberty of keeping it and shooting from too far a distance, right over the goalkeeper instead of passing it to an uncovered Torres.
How does one adapt to that?
The adaptable one is clearly Luiz, who has the ability, according to his past record, to counteract setbacks.
Or, in the instance of continued success, Chelsea may have to learn to play around their new center back.
Luiz’s determination is right on target and sparks when he emerges out of defence with the ball to make things happen. Should his deviation be a call for concern? Not as long as he continues to make things happen.