Belfast Telegraph

David Luiz has skills to become one of the world's best defenders: Antonio Conte

By Duncan Bech

Chelsea have made a £6m profit on David Luiz, who spent two years at PSG, and Antonio Conte believes they have re-signed a player capable of becoming one of the best defenders in the world.

The 29-year-old is a gifted player but is also unpredictable and has been prone to making risky decisions - shortcomings Conte intends to address.

"I think every player, until the end of their career, can improve," said Conte, who indicated Luiz is unlikely to start tomorrow's Premier League clash with Swansea as he adapts to Chelsea's new "philosophy".

"Even when you are 32, 33 or 36, you can always improve. I tell you this from my experience as a footballer. David Luiz is 29 - a fantastic age for him to become one of the best defenders in the world. I'm seeing great commitment from him. He wants to play for Chelsea. This is a great opportunity for him - and for us - to improve.

"I think the coach must improve his players. I think that's the most important thing for me - not only to win, lose or draw.

"To improve your players and to work. To work on weaknesses and make the players stronger."

Luiz can play in midfield as well as defence, but Conte views him only as a centre-back and will consider adjusting Chelsea's formation to accommodate him, John Terry and Gary Cahill.

"We have bought David Luiz because we need a centre-back. In this squad, there were Cahill and Terry, and sometimes we adapt Branislav Ivanovic in this role," Conte said. "But we needed centre-backs so, for that reason, we bought him. I know David Luiz has played in midfield before but that is not for us.

"I think, because of the characteristics of the players, we can play 3-4-3."

Fixtures (3pm unless stated): Man Utd v Man City (12.30pm), Arsenal v Southampton, Bournemouth v West Brom, Burnley v Hull, Middlesbrough v Crystal Palace, Stoke v Tottenham, West Ham v Watford, Liverpool v Leicester (5.30pm)

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