CHELSEA MAY HAVE sold David Luiz to rivals Arsenal ahead of this season, but Blues boss Frank Lampard says he will always respect the Brazil defender from his time at Stamford Bridge.
Centre-back David Luiz could come up against Chelsea for the first time since he left on Sunday when Lampard’s men visit Emirates Stadium for Mikel Arteta’s first home game in charge of the Gunners.
Arteta’s predecessor Unai Emery brought David Luiz across London back in August, the 32-year-old sold just a month after Lampard took over at Chelsea.
The emergence of Fikayo Tomori – who won his first England cap last month – and Kurt Zouma’s form has meant Chelsea do not appear to have not missed David Luiz, though his old team-mate Lampard was unwilling to make such declarations ahead of the latest London derby.
“What I don’t want to do is look like it’s a personal question going into a game against a player I respect and played with,” he said at a news conference when asked about selling David Luiz.
“If you look at our defenders and the emergence of Tomori, that’s obviously been a big plus for us, but it was just a decision that was made and while I’m here I’ll be making countless more of those in different ways.
“I certainly wish David well when he leaves this club. He was part of a Champions League-winning team, played with half a hamstring in the final, I know that.
“[He] got himself fit when he was under pressure with the injury and I will always respect that, and he moves on.”
Both David Luiz and Lampard faced new Arsenal head coach Arteta during the Spaniard’s playing days.
Arteta has taken on his first head coaching post with the Gunners and Lampard feels he was destined for the role.
“[He was] a very good player, a very intelligent player, very technical player,” the Chelsea boss added.
“Seemed to be a leader, not a fist-pumping kind of leader, but a leader in whatever teams he was playing in. He looks like he could be well-suited to management.
“I do wish him well – obviously not on Sunday – but I wish him well because when you see a fresh manager come into a job like that, I understand the strains and the pressures of it and the desires to want to do well in it. On a personal level I wish him well.”
Arteta has landed a job at a leading Premier League side despite having no previous managerial experience, unlike Lampard, who spent a year with Derby County before returning to Chelsea.