It has been confirmed that Chelsea have signed Brazilian left-back Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid for €20 million. The fee may well raise a few eye brows. Filipe Luis is not exactly a household name, and it has only been in the last two or three seasons that he has become widely known and recognised.
Regular followers of La Liga may be more inclined to understand the fee Chelsea have paid for the twenty eight year-old. He was signed by Galician club Deportivo La Coruna in 2008, after a successful loan spell at the club. He became known for his tireless, consistent performances and in 2010, he signed for Atletico Madrid.
He and Antonio Lopez battled for the regular left-back spot in the Atletico defence, and eventually Filipe Luis took it as his own. He has not looked back since and was an ever present figure in the Atletico defence. In spite of this, he has never really garnered the appreciation and acknowledgement he should have from the wider football media.
He is not a defender of the typical Brazilian ilk. He does get forward and join attacks in a typical Brazilian manner, but he does no possess the flair of his Brazilian compatriots, such as Marcelo, Dani Alves or Maicon. What he lacks in skill however, he makes up for with his defending. He is a solid defender, good in the air and tackle and with sound positioning sense. This is probably what has attracted Jose Mourinho more than anything else. He is a defender who should settle quickly in the Premier League. He will probably never replicate Ashley Cole’s best years at Chelsea, but he is certainly a sensible replacement.
There are very few exceptional left-backs circulating in world football today. This is the simple fact. Considering that Chelsea will probably get at least four seasons of top quality football from Filipe Luis, the fee of 20 million pounds does not seem prodigal. Filipe Luis is likely to be a reliable, consistent and industrious performer in the Chelsea back line. In time, the Stamford Bridge crowd will realise just why Mourinho paid the money he did to bring the Brazilian to the club.