In a statement published on their web site this morning, Benfica confirmed that transfer talks between the club and English Premier League side Chelsea have concluded, the object of those talks - 23-year-old Brazilian central defender David Luiz - to stay in Lisbon. While the clubs were close to a £21.5 million deal just days ago, now Chelsea must look to another source for relieve at the back, where the team lacks meaningful cover for John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic.
Since reports of a near deal surfaced early this week, the proposed price had risen to £26 million, a fee Chelsea was apparently set to pay. However, according to speculation on the mid-week edition of the Guardian's Football Weekly podcast, the quibbling point between the clubs was the amount of money to be paid up-front. Whereas, it was said, Chelsea was willing to give an initial payment of £20 million, Benfica wanted the entire payment immediately.
Whether that was the final stumbling block, Benfica's statement did not say. The finality of the statement's language, however, makes it clear that both clubs have agreed to step away. Perhaps the mutual nature of the accord hints at a rekindling come summer, but for now, Chelsea is without their desired defender.