Antonio Conte on collision course with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich over David Luiz’s future
Luiz has been out of action with a knee injury since 22 November when he played the full 90 minutes of Chelsea’s 4-0 Champions League win over Qarabag.
The Brazil international had previously been dropped following a row with Conte and was alleged to have been critical of his manager’s tactics during the 3-0 defeat against Roma.
Andreas Christensen’s emergence in the absence of Luiz has thrown the 30-year-old’s future into doubt and although Conte insists he is in contention to make his return in this weekend’s FA Cup third round tie against Norwich, his long-term future remains the subject of much conjecture.
Real Madrid were reported to have earmarked the centre-half, who only returned to Stamford Bridge 18 months ago following a spell at Paris Saint-Germain, as a primary candidate to strengthen their defence, while Barcelona were said to have made an opening bid last week.
Arsenal, too, have been heavily linked with Luiz but Arsene Wenger ruled out a move ahead of Wednesday’s enthralling 2-2 draw with the Premier League champions.
Conte appeared to open the door for Luiz’s departure earlier in the week by revealing he would not stand in the way of any disenchanted players, but Globo Esporte claims that the Chelsea board would oppose his sale.
Abramovich, in particular, is said to be a major fan of Luiz’s and played a major role in convincing him to return to west London the summer before last, following which he played a key role in the club’s title-winning campaign.
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