Michael Essien has urged Chelsea and Antonio Conte to keep David Luiz ahead of the January transfer window.
The Brazilian is currently sidelined with a knee injury but last week, reports in France claimed that he has held talks over a move to Real Madrid.
Earlier this season, Luiz was involved in a bust-up with Conte over the Italian’s tactical decisions in the wake of Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat to Roma in the Champions League.
But Essien, who won two Premier League titles and the Champions League during his time at Chelsea, insists Luiz still has a pivotal role at Stamford Bridge.
‘He has a strong leadership in him and that’s good for the team. It is good to have him in the dressing room,’ Essien said in an interview with Goal.
‘It is very funny, he jokes around but he’s serious when he’s playing.
‘It is sad how people forget last season so soon. It is what it is, this happens in football. He is still one of the best in my eyes. He’s out injured but I think he will come back strong and play for Chelsea.
‘Sell him? I am not sure. He is one of the leaders at the moment.
‘When you want to do something you need the leaders, you need that experience so hopefully he will still be around for a long time. When he was with me he was a crazy guy but in a good way.
‘You need that as a player. He is not that old, 30 years old, he’s still young to me.’
More: Chelsea FC