It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the ‘old guard’s’ days at Chelsea are numbered. Frank Lampard doesn’t look like he is going to receive a new contract after his current contract expires this summer, John Terry this week has claimed he is unsure whether he will receive a new contract after his expires next season, and Ashley Cole looks like he only has a season left in him. It’s a shame to see them pass, and I for one will be very disappointed when each one of them leaves. I can’t imagine Chelsea without Frank and JT, but it opens a door for some new legends to be made.
It’s no secret that Chelsea are currently in a transaction of youth, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Romelu Lukaku and Ryan Bertrand looking to be long term starters for the club. I think it is great that we are building our team up from a young age. Look what wonders that has done to the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona… Why can’t we do the same?
It’s all well and good having a talented young squad, don’t get me wrong – but in every team they need a leader. The importance of a leader in football, I feel, is really underrated. We have been blessed to have John Terry as our captain since he took over from Marcel Desailly, and he has definitely won some games for us by just spurring on the team and motivating them. Look at Arsenal for example. I don’t think they have had a proper leader since Patrick Viera retired, and if they had one I personally believe they could have won the league by now, maybe in the 2007/08 season where they went on a disappointing (for their fans) run at the end of the season.
Once John Terry leaves Chelsea, we will clearly need another leader. But who? We can’t just buy someone’s love for the club, it doesn’t work like that. We don’t have any young prospects coming up from our academy that are old enough to be captain within the next couple of seasons either.
You may be familiar with a fuzzy haired Brazilian geezer, who goes by the name of David Luiz. I’ve been saying this for a while now, many thought I was as crazy as David himself, but now they are starting to see where I’ve been coming from. Luiz, this season especially, has recently been showing his love for the club, and life living in the heart of the capital. John Terry was quoted after an interview after the Fulham game saying “He has the personality of a leader. He pushes the lads. He is like that in training, demanding a lot from himself and the other players around him. It’s good for the squad.’
It’s been a bit of a topsy-turvy ride for Luiz since joining Chelsea from Benfica on January deadline say 2011, but he finally seems like he is worth all the buzz that surrounded his move. He was a bit erratic in his first season, familiar to mistakes and errors that cost Chelsea at times. But this season he has, in my opinion, been the heart of this team. He has filled the gap left by John Terry when he was injured at centre-back, and has also been found comfortably playing in the double pivot, which I think is his strongest position.
By looking at the man, it’s clear he cares for Chelsea – and his teammates. Before every game, Luiz prays for himself and his fellow Chelsea players, gives them all a hug beforehand before spurring them on. It’s almost became a ritual now for the Brazilian who cried when we lost our Club World Cup final to Corinthians. I do remember hearing a story about Luiz when Oscar first joined Chelsea. Oscar had nowhere to live for around a month when he moved to England, so Luiz volunteered to let Oscar stay with him – even though they weren’t exactly familiar with each other. What a kind heart. Luiz is almost like a big brother to Oscar. He was quoted in March saying “I try to help him every day with this (his shyness). I tell him he is an amazing player with the talent to make the difference and change every game. I tell him to be happy and trust in his football”. Luiz later went onto saying “Some players need this. My job is to give confidence to the guys like Oscar”. This shows Luiz is already a leader in the club.
There is no doubt that Luiz would love this role, and I personally think he will be at Chelsea for a very long time. Last summer, Luiz turned down a transfer from European giants, Barcelona, which must have been difficult for him. There’s just something about Luiz that shows he is going to be the next captain at Chelsea. Hopefully Gary Neville will be eating his words soon.
Contribution by Jack Cox