Frank Lampard lifts the lid on David Luiz's sensational switch to Arsenal
 (Photo: Getty Images/Darren Walsh)

One of the more surprising transfer deadline day signings arose as David Luiz again said farewell to Chelsea, deciding to move across London to bitter rivals Arsenal.

Unai Emery snapped up the Brazilian for £8 million, a bargain in today's inflated market, along with Celtic's Kieran Tierney to tighten Arsenal's leaky rear-guard.

It was a switch few anticipated, and it was Frank Lampard's task to answer the burning questions at his press conference, ahead of Chelsea's Premier League opener against Manchester United.

Luiz left on good terms

Whenever a player leaves to join a competitor, especially in the case of Chelsea and Arsenal, rumours will instantly begin to formulate about a falling out with manager or unrest in the dressing room.

This particular story attached itself to Luiz when he joined the Gunners, particularly as he'd trained on his own two days prior to his transfer.

However, Lampard hesitated no time in squashing the assumed fallout between himself and the 31-year-old.

He told the Chelsea website: "There certainly wasn’t a strike or fallout so I want to make that clear straight away," he said. 

"I always expected honesty from a manager whatever the news and I think I got that back from David."

Lampard's full focus has been preparing his squad for United at the weekend, Luiz's exclusion allowed him to concentrate solely on the personal likely to feature. 

"The day David didn’t train was a decision that I made because it was clear the way we were going," Lampard went on to add. "I am very happy with the squad I have got now and my focus is working on that."

London love lost

Selling anyone to a top-six challenger can come across as risky, no more so than Luiz, as the Gunners have gained a fine defender and leader to their armoury.

Chelsea kept 16 clean sheets in the league last season, Luiz having been involved in 15 of those, but he also chipped into the Blues attacking play. Only three others in the division played more through balls (nine) than Luiz, whereas the highest for Arsenal came from Alexandre Lacazette (three). 

In all, it appeared Arsenal got the better end of the deal, yet Lampard did not believe the decision to sell to a direct competitor was done by choice.

He said: "I don’t think you can always dictate where a player goes, it depends on the situation. It was close to the deadline and Arsenal wanted him so we had to make a decision as a club."

"The decision was that David moves to Arsenal and I focus on what we have got here. Of course, he is a good player and he goes to a competitor but that’s what the situation was."

Chelsea's defence dilemma 

As much as Arsenal have gained, Chelsea have lost a strong character in their group and most importantly, a senior central defender.

Lampard is now left with four options in that position: Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and Fikayo Tomori; all are talented footballers but not without the defaults.

Zouma had only pre-season to refamiliarizes himself with his teammates after impressing at Everton, Christensen started just eight league fixtures in 2018/19, Rudiger remains on the side-lines through injury and this will be Tomori's first taste against England's elite, despite Lampard looking to offload him on loan before Luiz's departure. 

Regardless, Lampard remained confident in the squad in front of him, feeling that everyone was in contention for a place at the heart of his defence. 

"It’s an area of the pitch where we have competition. I don’t have number ones or twos. They have to fight for that shirt."

He also offered a kind farewell line to his former teammate, a man who'd won six trophies whilst at Chelsea, including the Premier League, a Champions League and two Europa Leagues.

"I wish him the best because he has been a big part of our history."

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