Any club is likely to move on a player who wants out, and rightly so. Filipe Luis was regarded as possibly the best left-back in the world when he moved in Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2014 and he would not have envisaged making only nine league starts. For any player at the peak of their game, a season like Luis has just had at Chelsea was always going to be a disappointment.
Some players are comfortable with winning the league and playing a ‘supporting’ role, but praise should go to Luis for not being satisfied to just take his medal. From his glorious final season at Atletico Madrid, Luis’ stock has plummeted and the Brazilian seems keen on a move back to the Spanish capital.
While Chelsea are targeting half of the Atletico squad, Luis is potentially going to be used as part of a swap deal for Arda Turan. His desire to leave and Chelsea’s increasing hunger to take on any successful Atletico player make this a perfect idea and gives Chelsea the chance to invest more wisely at full-back.
At nearly 30, Luis is bound to want to be first-choice wherever he is playing and unless Chelsea are to switch Cesar Azpilicueta across to right-back it is hard to see him getting regular minutes at Stamford Bridge. The younger Azpilicueta is more resilient defensively and even he would have to displace one of Mourinho’s favourites, Branislav Ivanovic, if he were to claim the right-back spot.
A further assistance to Chelsea moving on Luis is that he largely does not strike you as a Mourinho-type player. His clever attacking play and technical ability are not traits Mourinho is renowned for valuing in his full-backs, and his marauding over-lapping runs are not seen as a great positive at Chelsea – a club where full-backs are still seen primarily as defenders.
With the likelihood of Luis moving away increasing, Chelsea continue to be linked with Augsburg’s young left-back Baba Rahman. This sort of signing could be seen as an admission of a mistake in landing Luis last summer when a younger option would have been beneficial to the club’s forward planning. Despite missing out on Luke Shaw, Chelsea are likely to bring in a young full-back at a lower price and may free up the funds to add to other areas of their title winning squad.
In a defence containing two players over the age of 30, keeping hold of Luis (who is only a month or so away from his 30th birthday) makes little sense. While Chelsea can use the Brazilian to help secure other targets, they must begin to look at replacements for both John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic who will only have two years left at the top level.
Whether it be Baba Rahman or another candidate, Chelsea would be extremely sensible to move on Filipe Luis and secure players who could play for the majority of the next decade.
There is no doubting Luis’ class, but a move to Chelsea was a slightly puzzling choice for both parties, and that has shown throughout his first season.