Chelsea defender David Luiz open to midfield switch

Oriol Romeu injury has left gap to fill

David Luiz has declared he would happily play as a makeshift midfielder at Chelsea.

The Blues were today pondering how to fill the void left by Oriol Romeu's season-ending injury, with moving Luiz out of defence one option available to interim manager Rafael Benitez.

Three of Benitez's predecessors refused to contemplate such a switch but the Spaniard experimented with the idea during last week's Champions League thrashing of Nordsjaelland and revealed afterwards he would be prepared to do so again.

That would not be a problem as far as Luiz is concerned.

He said: "If the manager wants me as a striker, a right-back, a winger... I'll do anything to help the team. This is my philosophy.

"I play for the team and, if I'm needed to play in other positions, I'll try my best.

"I've played football for a long time. I know other positions.

"I know what wingers need to do because I see them doing it all the time in games and training, so if someone asks me what I need to do as a winger I'd know.

"I was in a different position against Nordsjaelland on Wednesday, the manager pushing me upfield a bit.

"He said I was one of the top five in terms of my fitness in the team, so I can help the other guys to control games like that.

"We were winning 5-1 so I could be box to box, helping out the team. I just want to help Chelsea."

The loss of Romeu left Benitez with only one recognised holding midfielder in John Obi Mikel, who is available for the Club World Cup in Japan this week but is in the midst of a three-match domestic ban and is expected to be on African Nations Cup duty for most of January.

Recalling Michael Essien or Josh McEachran from season-long loans at Real Madrid and Middlesbrough, respectively, could be an option.

But, more likely, Chelsea will try to sign a midfielder when the transfer window reopens, having already been linked with several big names.

Everton's Marouane Fellaini is one, while another is actually in Japan at present and could be watched by the Blues later today.

Corinthians star Paulinho was a reported target last summer and will play in the Club World Cup semi-finals against Al-Ahly in Toyota.

He could then meet Chelsea in Sunday's final.

Luiz, a boyhood Corinthians fan, identified his Brazil team-mate as a being among the South American champions' key threats.

"Paulinho plays for the national team, and [there are] other experienced players like Douglas, the number 10, who has a lot of quality with his left foot," Luiz said.

"I have lots of friends there.

"I know them, they know me. If it's this game in the final, it's a great game to have."

PA

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