After crashing out to Atlético Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League just a couple of months ago, rumours ran rife that Filipe Luis had been the player identified to replace the great Ashley Cole. After months of haggling, it appears a fee has finally been agreed for around £16 Million. The 28 year old, due to turn 29 next month, has been forced to train with Atlético’s reserve team as the club play hard ball over the deal.
The task of replacing the best left-back of the Premier League area was always going to be a hard one but it would appear Filipe Luis is the most equipped to do so. His balance between attack and defence means he is the ideal candidate in Mourinho’s eyes. Although there were murmurs of a move for boyhood Chelsea fan Luke Shaw back in January, Southampton’s asking price of £30 Million seemed to be the stumbling point, a figure way too high for a player with his level of experience. That being said, Shaw is a long term investment and it surprises me that both Mourinho and Chelsea were not more interested in the 19 year old.
Luis’ age begs a question, that at 29, how many peak years does he have left in him? If you judge him on Cole’s impeccably high standards then the answer would be four, however, three years is a more realistic expectation. So in three seasons time Chelsea will be in a similar scenario to now and will reluctantly, be looking for a new left-back. At the moment world class left-backs are in short supply, especially ones who would be willing to move. The likes of Alba and Alaba would be desirable but unrealistic targets. However, exciting and highly rated left-backs such as Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodriguez (21), Ben Davies of Swansea (21) and Sevilla’s Alberto Moreno (22) could be targets worth pondering before and after Luis’ arrival.
Perhaps Chelsea should look no further than their current squad to find an adequate replacement. Cesar Azpilicueta showed numerous times throughout the season that he was more than capable of playing at left-back. As well as the Spaniard, lets not forget that serial loanee Patrick Van Aanholt is still on Chelsea books, as is Champions League Final starter Ryan Bertrand. Both have made numerous appearances for Chelsea in recent years but have failed to make a lasting impression.
All in all the signing of Filipe Luis makes the most sense. The similarities between Simeone’s and Mourinho’s style: the intensity and discipline, mean it will be easy for the Brazilian to adapt. After eight years of consistent left-back performances it would be unfair to expect a youngster to adhere to the same exceptional standards.