When Chelsea bought David Luiz and Fernando Torres in the winter transfer window, the rest of The Premier League looked on with envy. A little under a year later and the money looks less well spent.
After a sequence of results not seen at Chelsea since well before ‘The Special One’ arrived at The Bridge, Roman Abramovich did what all fans would dream of in such circumstances and opened his huge chequebook during a winter of discontent in West London. We aren’t talking a few million here and there to temporarily plug holes. We are talking top dollar for what was supposed to be some of the finest talent on the continent. Chelsea needed new determination in defence and dynamism in the final third.
David Luiz was the less well-known of the arrivals but still cost around 25 million euro. He started very brightly indeed, looking like a talented maverick of a player – exactly the sort of footballer that a flat and fitful Chelsea surely required. He received a man of the match award in his first full game against Fulham but, in conceding a penalty at the death, the footballing audience was given a portent as to Luiz’ foibles. He was periodically brilliant going forward, but too often found wanting with the bread and butter of defending.
Fast forward to Tuesday’s Champions League encounter in Belgium and Luiz again looked, at times, brittle at the back and also squandered a penalty which would have given his team a valuable victory in Genk. It probably won’t prove critical in terms of Champions League qualification for The Blues, but for one who initially seemed such a sensational signing, his stock has fallen steeply.
Personally, I wouldn’t be too quick to trust him in my defence but perhaps there is a role for him in the midfield, where he can show off his samba skills but will also be able to make the odd mistake in less dangerous areas, further away from his own goal. His class is obvious but his form has been erratic.
As for Torres, he has shown improved form and fitness this season but he’s still some way short of the player that terrorised defences and redefined the art of finishing in his halcyon days at Liverpool. Although you wouldn’t bet against a player of his quality coming back to the boil, he just seems less comfortable with the style of play at Chelsea. It’s now well over 3 years since he scored an away goal in The Champions League.
Time will tell whether the money does prove to be well spent and even a man of Roman’s wealth will not want to write off this £75 million outlay prematurely, but the immediate injection of class that he had hoped for when signing the pair is yet to fully materialise.
So will Torres and Luiz eventually make their mark? What do you think?