An interesting statistic on David Luiz has been doing the rounds on social media since Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Watford. In his opening four games for his new club, Luiz has been booked twice, conceded eight goals and given away two penalties – just 1 fewer than he did at Chelsea in 160 appearances!
Arsenal gifted away what should have been an easy win at Vicarage Road, as Luiz put in another poor performance following his move from Chelsea.
What this also brought to my mind, though, was just how many players The Blues have sold to rival teams in the Premier League, decisions that were questioned by pundits as they potentially strengthened a direct rival.
Many pundits claimed at the time that these moves could return to haunt the club, but in hindsight, it is clear they have been the right moves for Chelsea. David Luiz has so far shown that the decision to sell him to Arsenal was a wise one; yet another example of Chelsea allowing a player to leave at the right time, even when many in the game believe differently.
Chelsea received a small fee for the Brazilian, while also removing big wages off the books and an ageing, calamity-prone player out of the team. If you cast your mind back a few seasons, the club also allowed Petr Cech and Nemanja Matic to leave for top-six rivals, Arsenal and Manchester United respectively, bringing in a combined fee of £41 million.
It is fair to say that neither player improved their respective teams and you can argue again that it seemed like a smart decision made by the club against the odds. Juan Mata was another player who left for the red half of Manchester – his £37 million move came during the ill-fated David Moyes era.
The Spaniard, a great player and personality, a player who I honestly love, was a great servant for the Blues and an incredible human being. He has certainly not been a poor signing for United, but has he genuinely improved their squad in a way that’s resulted in them being a threat to the Blues?
It would be ignorant of me not to recall a direct sale that has come back to haunt Chelsea – Romelu Lukaku to Everton. The Toffees may not be a direct rival so to speak, but a Premier League rival they most definitely are.
Lukaku certainly strengthened the Merseyside club and his opening season for Manchester United showcased just how good he can be. Two other names that are mentioned quite often are Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne. However, for this piece, I will not consider them poor sales to direct rivals because they moved outside of the Premier League before returning to display their world-class abilities for Liverpool and Manchester City respectively.
Looking back at the sales of Mata, Matic and Cech it is clear that the Chelsea board have shown good judgment when it comes to allowing a player to leave for a fellow Premier League side.
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