Chelsea to resist Barcelona despite rumour of £40m bid for defender David Luiz
Chelsea are privately insistent that they will not sell David Luiz, despite the current interest in the defender from Barcelona and a potential £40m bid in the next few days.
The club have no intention of selling the 26-year-old and feel that there is no overwhelming desire on the part of Luiz himself to leave. The Brazil international is highly rated by Jose Mourinho, as well as many of the key decision-makers at Stamford Bridge, and having signed a five-year deal less than a year ago has committed his future to Chelsea.
There is an acceptance at the club that their players will attract attention from the leading sides in Europe and that Barça must be getting encouragement from some quarter in this current pursuit. Yet there are no fears at Chelsea that Luiz, while no doubt enjoying being a target for the La Liga side, will try to engineer a departure.
The club are currently based in Washington and flew into Miami for their pre-season friendly against Real Madrid, billed as the final of the Guinness International Cup, which was played in the early hours of this morning. Luiz is not playing in the game and trained separately from the squad on Tuesday while he recovers from a hamstring strain.
The club have no current plans to sell any of their first-team squad, a decision that even now would appear to extend to the likes of John Obi Mikel, who was a candidate to be moved on at the end of last season. They have been explicit about keeping Luiz when there were reports last month, comprehensively dismissed by Chelsea, that he or Juan Mata could be used as makeweights in a deal with Manchester United for Wayne Rooney.
That view has not changed at the club, where Mourinho feels that the squad has benefited from being so settled in pre-season. The Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala was a long-term target but not at the kind of price that the Portuguese club were quoting, in excess of £30m.
Chelsea's focus remains on signing Rooney, about whom they feel quietly confident. It is Chelsea's belief that United will allow the deal to go through once they have made a signing of their own, ideally Cesc Fabregas, and that there is a feeling at Old Trafford that selling Rooney would be the right outcome for them, too.
Mourinho has now settled upon their four central defenders for the season – Luiz, Gary Cahill, John Terry and Tomas Kalas, with Branislav Ivanovic another option, although he is much more likely to be deployed at right-back.
Speaking while in Kuala Lumpur this summer, Mourinho said that he believed Luiz could improve, "as everybody can, and especially defensively with the potential he has". He added: "I've known him since the beginning because he went very young to Portugal so I've watched him a lot.
"I think, from a defensive point of view, he can be much more effective, much more solid. But, for me, the potential is incredible. He has to play always."
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