On the face of things, that's not a very encouraging headline. Chelsea's third bid for Benfica defender David Luiz was still short of the Portuguese side's valuation of their floppy-haired star, believed to be around £25M. However, bids being offered and rejected is just part of the negotiation process, and it sounds like things are getting closer. Chelsea had previously submitted bids worth around £17M and £20M respectively - best guesses put the latest offer at about £23M - so they're coming very near what Benfica have been demanding all along. ESPN Soccernet ran a story today featuring a key quote from a 'source close to the negotiations':
[T]hey are not far away. Chelsea very much want the player, he is by far their first choice, but they are not there yet."The truth is that Benfica don't want to sell but they cannot hold onto the player, who wants to go to Chelsea, but Chelsea's offers have all been rejected, and that has happened to the latest offer as well.
It sounds like a Luiz transfer is simply a matter of time for the Blues, who have been linked with the Brazilian since before this season started and have suffered through an injury crisis in the centre of their defence. Should they be unable to come to terms with Benfica, the linked article indicates that Denmark and Wolfsburg defender Simon Kjaer (profiled here) is their backup plan, but by all accounts Luiz to Chelsea will happen sometime in the very near future.
Luiz is 23, already established in Brazil's first team, and considered to be one of the top centre-backs in world football. He's capable in the air and on the ground, is a good passer, and is comfortable with striding out of the defence to launch attacks. Although he can play on either side of the defence, he's mostly been deployed by Benfica as a left centre-back, a position currently occupied at Chelsea by captain John Terry - it's likely that until fellow Brazilian Alex returns to action Luiz would feature at right centre-back for the Blues.