Conte discloses January return date for David Luiz
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has given an update on long-term absentee David Luiz.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of their game against Stoke City at Stamford Bridge, Conte disclosed that the 30-year old Brazilian is close to a first team return but Saturday’s home game comes too soon for the center-half.
The defender has not made a Premier league appearance for The Blues since starting in his side’s one nil victory over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium at the end of October. He was dropped after having a falling out with Conte but was recalled for their Champions League group game against Qarabag in November before succumbing to a knee injury that has since kept him out of action.
Luiz has however returned to training recently and according to his manager he is close to making his first appearance in over 6 weeks. Conte has pinpointed their FA Cup third round tie away to Norwich City on January 6th as a probable return date for both the Brazilian international and fellow returnee, Charly Musonda.
“The same players from the last game are available (for the game against Stoke),” Conte said in the pre-match press conference.
“(Charly) Musonda and Luiz are improving a lot and their recovery is very close. I don’t know about the next game. But for sure against Norwich, Luiz and Musonda will be available.”
Rumours of a possible move away from Stamford Bridge for David Luiz has been making the rounds due to his prolonged absence from the squad, with top clubs Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United all being linked to the former PSG man.
His likely return to the Chelsea squad in the New Year will go a long way in squashing these transfer rumours but the state of his relationship with manager Conte at this time is still unknown.
However, getting back into Conte’s starting XI will not be a straightforward task for Luiz - as in his absence 21-year old Andreas Christensen has stepped up and performed admirably, and cemented his place in the Blues' starting 11.