Benfica reject £17m Chelsea bid for Luiz
Chelsea have had a £17m 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 defence but it is unclear whether Chelsea will return with a further offer despite the Lisbon club rumoured to be willing to sell for around £26m.
Earlier this week, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini admitted that, along with Edin Dzeko, he wanted to sign Luiz (23) during 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 £30m deal for Wolfsburg striker Dzeko next week, a further move for Luiz would end their search for new players, 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.
Meanwhile, Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has set his sights on Aston Villa and England winger Stewart Downing.
With owner Ellis Short expected to hand over around £12m in the summer, Bruce will use his entire transfer kitty to try to prise away the former Middlesbrough player from Villa Park.
Downing (26), is in impressive form for Villa this season despite his club's travails and is currently their top scorer with six goals. While there is no suggestion he is unsettled at a club he only joined 18 months ago, Bruce is closely monitoring the situation at Villa which, under Gerard Houllier, has the potential for volatility.
"We are at a stage where if I am going to get £10-12m I would spend it on one player," Bruce said. "We are at that level now where that can make the difference. We have the nucleus of a good young team."
However, fringe players will be moving on, including Paulo Da Silva, the Paraguay international, who is heading back to Mexico, from where he arrived 18 months ago. Sunderland have accepted a £1.5m bid from Cruz Azul for Da Silva.