Benfica reject Chelsea's bid but defender Luiz still hot property

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Chelsea have had a £17 million bid rejected for the Benfica defender David Luiz, who is also interesting Manchester City ahead of the transfer window opening tomorrow.

The Brazilian, who can play at centre back and left back, has long been tipped for a move to the Premier League but the Portuguese club refused to budge from the player's prohibitive £43m release clause during the summer.

Carlo Ancelotti has admitted he is keen to add to his defensive options but it is unclear whether Chelsea will return with a further offer despite the Lisbon club, who are eight points off league leaders Porto, rumoured to be willing to sell for around £26 million.

Earlier this week, the Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini admitted that, along with Edin Dzeko, he wanted to sign Luiz, 23, in January, claiming the defender has the potential to be one of the best in the world.

"You have to invest in young talent – players like him [Luiz], whom so many admire, and who I consider to have everything to become one of the best defenders in the world," Mancini said.

With City confident of completing a £30 million deal for the Wolfsburg striker Dzeko next week, a further move for Luiz would bring an end to their search for new players and prompt further outgoings, with a potential loan move being sought for Emmanuel Adebayor.

The destination of Roque Santa Cruz, who has interested both Fulham and Stoke but has rejected a loan move to Lazio, remains unclear.

While Mancini's assistant Brian Kidd would not discuss the imminent arrival of Dzeko yesterday, he claimed that City's squad is as good as any in the Premier League. City and Manchester United go into the new year level on points at the top of the table and even though Kidd accepts that the Old Trafford club are clear favourites, he thinks that Mancini is making significant progress.

"We've been looking at the top four as a priority and to take it from there and it's obvious that it's Manchester United's to lose now," Kidd said.

"It's in their hands and it's for them to lose. They've been around the block, they know how to win leagues. They've been there, the same as Chelsea have in recent years. It's not so much with Arsenal because it's been five years since they've been in the mix.

"I wouldn't swap our squad with anybody in the Premier League, that's my personal view. I wouldn't swap any of our lads for anybody in the top four or five teams or anyone in the league.

"They're going quite well. It's always been a top four place at the start of the season, we're doing ok on that and no-one is getting carried away."

Kidd is hoping to help revive another Manchester side, having assisted Sir Alex Ferguson when United ended their 26-year wait for a title in 1993.

The assistant manager, who played for both United and City, thinks that one trophy will be the catalyst for many more for Mancini.

"I believe we've got the manager and the players that will go the distance," Kidd said. "When I was there they came second to Leeds and then won it the following year.

"You knew they had something in the squad then because, to respond to the disappointment of coming second and going on and winning the Premier League and then to do the double the year after that.

"To come off the back of that disappointment, they could have gone flat but they didn't, they responded. As soon as we get a trophy, it's intoxicating. When you win things it's unbelievable what it does for your squad."

Comments