Benfica have turned down a third bid from Chelsea for centre-back David Luiz and are holding out for the full £25 million asking price.
Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti has earmarked a top quality centre-back as his main priority for the January transfer window, as the injury problems to skipper John Terry and Alex, alongside the sale of Ricardo Carvalho to Real Madrid in the summer, have left Chelsea vulnerable at the back.
Chelsea have made David Luiz their priority target, but the club are also looking at Danish star Simon Kjaer as a back-up if they cannot persuade the Brazilian to move, or the transfer becomes too expensive, with a third bid rebuffed by Benfica.
A source close to the transfer negotiations told ESPNsoccernet: "Chelsea's offer is shy of €25 million and Benfica are asking £25 million.
"Chelsea have put in some good bids, but they are not there yet. But they 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. But the two clubs are closer - it just needs something to unlock the key to a deal being done."