Over the last several weeks, the rumors surrounding us and David Luiz have been growing to the point where it seems a deal may be inevitable. In the last 24 hours we've seen news suggesting that we may be moving on from Luiz to Wolfsburg's Simon Kjaer for approximately half the cost. While that is certainly possible, the rumored 12 million euro price tag for Kjaer does seem too good to be real. There's also this little tidbit being reported by Sky Sports:
Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira flew to London in the company of agent Giuliano Bertolucci to hold talks with Chelsea over a potential move
Those networks seem to be suggesting that Chelsea would prefer to pay no more than the 23 million pound fee for their first choice defender that they have been reportedly offering, but that they may be willing to sweeten the deal slightly with a role player such as Paulo Ferreira or Salomon Kalou heading in the other direction. Given that, I'm curious as to exactly how much truth there is to the Kjaer rumors and how much is posturing by Chelsea. Wolfsburg have already sold their most valuable asset this January though, so it's certainly possible that they'd be willing to move Kjaer as well (especially since they seem to be safely out of the European slots). After the jump we'll take a little closer look at the two center backs making up the majority of the Chelsea transfer rumors today, and hopefully have some discussion as to who you'd prefer to see in Blue.Age - Simon Kjaer was born on March 26, 1989. He'll be turning 22 before the close of this season. David Luiz was born April 22, 1987. He'll turn 24 about a month after Kjaer turns 22. While Kjaer is almost exactly two years younger, both should still be short of the prime years of their career and both should still have value if we decide to sell towards the end of their contracts (both should still have value if we extend them as well). Niether is young enough to qualify as a U21 or become "homegrown" in England.
Physical Attributes - Both Kjaer and Luiz stand 6'3" tall, and both are roughly the same weight. Kjaer seems to be more known for his raw speed and jumping ability, while Luiz tends to be more highly thought of in terms of balance, change of direction, and footwork. Both are known for being tough physical central defenders.
Experience - Both players cut their teeth in less than elite leagues, Kjaer in his native Denmark and Luiz in Brazil. Kjaer made his way to Serie A in 2008, and moved from Italy to the Bundesliga for the beginning of this season. Luiz made his way to Portugal in 2007, where he still remains today. Luiz is the only player of the two with any Champions League experience, starting 6 games for Benfica this year. Kjaer has more international experience than Luiz, having featured regularly in Denmark's WC qualifying and subsequent World Cup games. Luiz would be unavailable to Chelsea in any remaining Champions League games this season, while Kjaer is not cup tied.
Skill - Luiz is generally thought of as the more polished player at this point. He's better with the ball at his feet and he's better with the long passing aspect of his game. Both are considered very solid with their shorter passing, and both are prone to the occasional lapse of concentration that allows a free run behind them. Kjaer is probably the stronger of the two in the air, making him more of a weapon on set pieces (on both ends). Luiz is probably the stronger man marker of the two, Kjaer has a slight edge in his ability to close ground and make up for mental lapses.
Price - Rumors have the price of Luiz at about 25 million pounds (and possibly a squad player), while the price of Kjaer appears to be about half of that. I'd be surprised if Wolfsburg actually sells Kjaer in January that cheaply, so count me as a skeptic to the rumored price. I'd think about 15 million English pounds would get the Kjaer deal done.
Versatility - Kjaer has played strictly center back during the course of his career, although he came through the ranks in Denmark playing the holding role before becoming a center back. Luiz has covered at left back, right back, and even as a holding midfielder during his career. Both will likely be first choice center backs at Chelsea, and likely never see a game at any other position except in a situation of great need.
Verdict - This one is very debatable. Taking everything into consideration, I think I'd prefer to see us sign Kjaer as opposed to David Luiz (especially when considering the difference in cost). I like that he's two years younger and potentially better from set pieces. I also think his skills potentially fit better with Jeffrey Bruma going forward than Luiz's do. I know Graham would prefer to see us acquire Luiz, and thinks we need someone more closely resembling Ricardo Carvalho to pair with John Terry. I'm sure he'll expand on his train of thought more in the comments section below (and show off his new screen name). What I'd love to know is who our readers prefer...David Luiz or Simon Kjaer? Please vote in the attached poll and feel free to expand in the comments section below. If you haven't registered with SB Nation yet, this would be a great opportunity to do so and share your thoughts on the subject.