Filipe Luis joins Chelsea: Who is Blues' new £20m left-back?

The Brazilian has agreed personal terms with the west Londoners

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The Independent Football

Chelsea’s latest recruit will fill a troublesome hole at left-back - but who is the player behind the £20 million fee?

Luis has travelled a far from straightforward path to south west London. His career began in 2003 at the small Brazilian club Figueirense, where he spent just a year before moving to Ajax on loan.

His time with the Dutch giants must have attracted desirous glances- because in August 2005 Real Madrid came calling.

Luis’ spell there was not a happy one- he spent most of his one season at the club with its ‘B’ outfit before moving to Deportivo La Coruna, in what became a permanent deal.

It was with Atletico however that the indefatigable defender really made his name. He signed in July 2010 for a reported €12 million, a year before Diego Simeone arrived at the club.

The bullish Simeone’s tigerlike pressing system turned Luis into a quiet star. He played a crucial part in each of the 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons, during which Atletico collected the UEFA Super Cup, the Europa League and, most memorably, the La Liga title.

But as is so often the case, a love affair ended in ignominy when Luis declared his intention to join Chelsea. He was banished to train with the Atletico reserves- a further embarrassment following his perhaps unfair omission from Brazil’s World Cup squad.

Atletico’s anger at Luis’ request for a move is a reflection of how highly they value a player who is never flash but equally never less than consistently solid, in the manner of a well-constructed brick wall.


Luis is a fine tackler possessed of apparently limitless endurance- a necessary quality given the physical demands Simeone’s system put on the Atletico players. Despite his pre-season in the reserves, José Mourinho is buying a player in tip-top shape.

Scolari preferred the flashier but defensively brittle Marcelo and the unremarkable Maxwell at the World Cup - and came to regret his decision as both proved fallible and underwhelming.

Mourinho knows a good left-back- and he knows too that the most important quality in the position is the ability to defend. In the hit-and-miss world of big-money transfers, Filipe Luis is as close to guaranteed value for money as a club is likely to find.