Sambafoot Sunday: Is David Luiz Worth 50 Million?
Sambafoot Sunday by James Nalton. The beat goes on...
Last week, PSG continued their love affair with Brazilian central defenders by splashing out £50m on Chelsea’s David Luiz. The amount of money changing hands raised a few eyebrows, with the fee making him the most expensive central defender in football history.
The former Benfica star has come under some criticism with regards to his abilities as a defender. Prone to lapses in concentration and carelessness in possession, some of his former managers have opted to play him in midfield where his mistakes are less costly but the team retain his undoubted footballing ability. A previous edition of Sambafoot Sunday discussed the option of playing him as a midfielder for Brazil.
Last season at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho became less convinced by Luiz’s quality at centre back as the season went on, opting to play him in defensive midfield, or even leaving him out of the team altogether. Mourinho’s set-up is based around defensive discipline, and it’s clear that he lost faith in his number four’s ability to maintain the defensive solidity which is vital to his game plan.
Despite this lack of trust at club level, his place in the centre of Brazil’s defence has never been in doubt, at least in the eyes of manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. When the Brazil squad was announced ahead of this summer’s World Cup, Luiz was always certain to be in it, even though there were strong cases made for the inclusion of Miranda of Atlético Madrid, and Dedé of Cruzeiro.
During the Confederations Cup we saw the best of David Luiz, especially in the final against Spain when he was uncharacteristically solid in defence and made a vital goal-line clearance. It could be that his mind is more focused when Brazil are playing in big matches, and big match players are something Brazil will need in the coming weeks.
He’s also a big character in the Brazil dressing room; someone who the other players look to regardless of his own performances on the pitch. He’s one of the four leaders in Scolari’s World Cup family along with centre back partner Thiago Silva, Fred, and Julio Cesar.
In David Luiz, PSG have signed themselves the starting centre back in a Brazilian team playing a World Cup on home soil. A Brazilian side which every bookmaker has down as the favourite to win the competition, and one whose hype and expectation leading into the competition is unprecedented.
In a world where players are now brands as well as footballers, the prospect of a Brazilian centre back coming back to the club as a World Cup winner will be a dream for the club’s marketing team.
Alongside Brazil’s captain Thiago Silva, the Paris club would boast two of the highest profile players in world football, and possibly one of the most famous centre back partnerships in football history, should everything go to plan for Brazil this summer.
This is where PSG would begin to recoup at least some of that £50m fee, just as Real Madrid make money from big name players such as Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, and Barcelona profit from Lionel Messi and Brazilian poster boy Neymar.
In terms of football ability, £50m is far too high a valuation for David Luiz, but in terms of the whole package it might turn out to be a good price for the Ligue 1 club.