Reports: Out-of-favour Chelsea star to push for Barcelona move
What's the story?
Gary Neville famously said in 2012, that David Luiz plays football like he's being controlled by a 10-year-old on a PlayStation. Neville only retracted that statement four years later in 2016, after commenting on how Luiz seemed like a changed man under Antonio Conte and his new formation.
Luiz received widespread praise from several former critics in the 2016-17 season for shaking off his more impetuous tendencies and helping Chelsea win the Premier League title.
However, things have gone sour for the Brazilian centre-back this year, and he was banished to the stands by Antonio Conte during Chelsea's match against United. The Chelsea manager also mentioned in his post-match interview that Luiz needed to improve significantly, or he faced more time on the sidelines.
In the midst of this public dressing down of Luiz by Conte, reports in the Daily Star have emerged, stating that David Luiz is attempting to internally force a move to Barcelona.
In case you didn't know...
David Luiz began his career as a central-defensive midfielder for Brazilian club Vitoria, but a string of poor performances saw him shifted to centre-back, where he adapted well. Luiz moved to Benfica on loan in 2007 and signed a five-year contract at the end of the season.
Luiz truly came into his own under manager Jorge Jesus during the 2009-10 season, as Benfica won the league, and Luiz was named Portuguese Liga Player of the Year.
David Luiz moved to London to play for Chelsea in 2011, instantly becoming a fan favourite. Luiz won a Champions League title, a Europa League title and an FA Cup with the Blues, before moving on to Paris Saint-Germain in 2014.
During his two-year stint at the French capital, Luiz won the domestic treble with Les Parisiens twice and was even included in the FIFA World Team of the Year in 2014. He returned to former club Chelsea in 2016, where he won the Premier League in 2016-17.
The heart of the matter
David Luiz enjoyed a second wind under Antonio Conte, and was praised for showing a degree of maturity and composure that he previously lacked. However, since the beginning of the current season, Luiz has shown glimpses of the unreliability that plagued him in his younger years.
A clumsy red card for a rash tackle on Arsenal's Sead Kolasinac in a 0-0 draw and poor showings in big games have seen him fall out of favour at Chelsea.
Meanwhile, rumours linking Javier Mascherano to a move away from Barcelona have cropped up time and again in recent months, and the Argentinian hasn't been coy about the possibility of leaving the Catalan club.
Thomas Vermaelen is another Barcelona centre-back who seems like he's on the verge of leaving, after making only 22 appearances in three years at Barcelona. It seems inevitable that Barcelona will attempt to sign a central defender as replacements, and David Luiz could fit well into Barcelona's fluid style of football.
Barcelona may be in desperate need to reinforce their defence if Javier Mascherano and Thomas Vermaelen leave the club in the imminent future, and David Luiz might be a cheaper option than most proven centre-backs.
Antonio Conte has shown in the past with the likes of John Terry that he can freeze players out of the first-team if he thinks they're inadequate. If Chelsea and Barcelona can agree on a deal, it might be in the Brazilian's best interests to move on.