Chelsea increased their offer for David Luiz on Monday night to €25 million plus one young player outside of their main first-team squad. And another target in Simon Kjaer of Wolfsburg now looks off the radar as his club have not received an offer from the Blues.
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It is hoped at Chelsea that will unblock weeks of haggling over the player's value, and the Blues believe they will reach a conclusion by the end of the week and have applied for a work permit in anticipation of pulling off the deal.
However an insider told ESPNsoccernet on Monday night: "You can see it from Benfica's point of view - this is the best young player in the world. There might be better in the world, but none better at the age of 23. He is their prime asset, and they are holding out for the right price. The deal from Chelsea's point of view, though, is finally gaining some momentum."
Chelsea now value their bid at £25 million but Benfica want straight cash. But there are signs at long last of a potential breakthrough. The source added: "Chelsea have applied for a work permit, as they are going through the motions of trying to capture the player, but it is not quite over yet. But we are hopeful, the player wants the deal and Chelsea certainly do."
Chelsea are willing to spend more on Luiz than they have for any player since they splashed out £30.1 million for Andrei Shevchenko five years ago, but Roman Abramovich still will not sanction a €30 million deal for Luiz, as the haggling over the price continues.
Abramovich is acutely aware of the UEFA financial fair play rules and is intent of making Chelsea self sufficient and even though the new legislation does not kick in until the summer, Abramovich wants to make it clear around the football money markets that he no longer intends to overspend on players.
Yet, such is Chelsea's need for a centre-half that Abramovich is being pushed into increasing his offer of £21m.
ESPNsoccernet's source continued: "The Benfica delegation came over to London for talks and left on Monday afternoon without a resolution.
"I know it has been suggested that Benfica asked for Kalou, but I think their president was just being funny when he said give me Kalou, Drogba and Terry and I will give you Luiz, it was a joke to a journalist in Portugal.
"As yet Benfica have not asked for a specific player, but there are talks about which player might be involved. However, Benfica have been holding out for a straight £25 million cash offer, and while a compromise might be getting closer talks are on going."
The Premier League champions are fully in the market for a central defender in the January transfer window, with Danish international Kjaer another of the names linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.
However, the Blues are reportedly closing in on a deal for Luiz, after the Brazilian did not feature in their weekend win against Nacional, and Kjaer's agent Mikkel Beck maintains he and his client have never been contacted about interest from West London.
"We haven't heard anything from either Wolfsburg or Chelsea," Beck told Onside.dk. "We are concentrating on the fact that Simon is happy to play for Wolfsburg and has three-and-a-half years left on his contract."
Kjaer, 21, only joined Wolfsburg from Palermo during the summer. He has won 15 caps for Denmark, and appeared at last summer's World Cup in South Africa.
"We are trying to find a solution," said Blues boss of Luiz after Chelsea's 4-0 win at Bolton. "He's a very good young player but we have not agreed anything. He is the only signing we are trying to make but if it's not possible, nothing changes."