Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has denied David Luiz went on strike to force through a move to Premier League rivals Arsenal.
The Brazilian centre-back made the switch across London on Thursday in a shock deadline-day transfer, with Arsenal paying in the region of £8million.
David Luiz was a regular under Maurizio Sarri last season and was used by Lampard in five of Chelsea’s seven friendlies ahead of the new campaign, but reports emerged on Wednesday alleging that he refused to take part in training as he wanted to leave.
But Lampard has clarified the situation by suggesting it was a mutual decision to bring an end to the 32-year-old’s second spell at Chelsea.
So good to have you in north London, @DavidLuiz_4
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 8, 2019
“We had some conversations over the last week, honest ones and the conclusion was that he should move on,” he said at Friday’s pre-match news conference.
“It’s a position that I have a lot of competition in. Everyone has to understand that. He has moved on and we wish him the absolute best, because he has been a big part of our history.
“There wasn’t any strikes. No fall-outs, just honest conversations. As a player I want that as a manager and I think I got that from David. Him not training was a decision I made.”
David Luiz only signed a two-year contract extension at Stamford Bridge in May, but he will now spend the next couple of seasons with rivals Arsenal.
Asked if Chelsea have directly helped to strengthen the Gunners, Lampard said: “You can’t dictate too much what happens at times.
“The decision was that he moves on to Arsenal and I focus on here. Yes, he is a good player.”
10 – David Luiz could be the 10th player to play a Premier League game for both Chelsea & Arsenal, after Emmanuel Petit, Ashley Cole, Nicolas Anelka, William Gallas, Petr Cech, Yossi Benayoun, Cesc Fàbregas, Lass Diarra & Olivier Giroud. TFL. pic.twitter.com/GOLoyckQT2
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 8, 2019
Chelsea also said goodbye to skipper Gary Cahill and star attacker Eden Hazard during the close season, while Christian Pulisic – signed in January – was the only player to arrive due to their two-window ban on registering new players.
“It is what it is,” Lampard said of the transfer restrictions. “We have to remain competitive while we are in this position.
“With the ban it has been easy to write off this squad, and I don’t write off this squad at all. I think that what is important is that you have a target within the group. What matters is how we approach things. We will see how we go.”
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