Paul Merson reveals Chelsea’s perfect replacement for David Luiz

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Chelsea sold David Luiz to Arsenal in last summer’s transfer window deadline, and while the Brazilian was full of mistakes at times, he was unplayable in his best days.

In truth, one thing Chelsea lacked in defence was a ball playing defender. Andreas Christensen struggled in that role, Antonio Rudiger and Kurt Zouma aren’t that kind of defenders, and Fikayo Tomori is still a work in progress.

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has earmarked West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, as the perfect replacement for Luiz, if Frank Lampard wants to play a back three, and also reveals that the England international can provide a good covering for Chelsea in front of the back four.

Chelsea have been linked with Rice, and Merson believes it’ll be a good signing.

“Declan Rice is going to have choices this summer and I can see why Chelsea want him,” Merson wrote in his Daily Star column.

“He has become a top class holding midfielder for his age. He’s so disciplined, and I think it’s up to him how far he goes in the game.

“There will be a lot of teams after him. In my day you had to have experience to play that position but he does it so well.

“West Ham will have to get the right price if they sell. But I can see why Frank Lampard wants him.

“If you’re playing three at the back he ticks the boxes. He’d be comfortable in the middle of a three.

“Since David Luiz left they’ve not had anybody who can play that role and be comfortable bringing the ball out.

“I don’t really see him in a four, but he could play just in front of a four if they need him to. I can see where Lampard’s coming from.

“It’s hard to know what his value is though. Everyone is waiting for that first big one to go in the transfer market and set the benchmark.”

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Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.