Benfica are playing a dangerous game of brinkmanship over David Luiz's proposed move to Chelsea after forcing him to travel to northern Portugal and insisting he will play in Wednesday's cup game against Rio Ave.
The Lisbon club are believed to be unhappy at Chelsea's attempts to include fringe players such as Paulo Ferreira and Nemanja Matic in a part-exchange deal and are ready to risk an injury that could scupper any deal.
They are understood to prefer a straight cash deal of around £26million and are ready to dig their heels in after including Luiz in the squad that headed to Rio Ave.
Target: Chelsea have been tracking defender Luiz (right) for most of the season
The 23-year old centre-back played a full part in training near the team hotel this morning (Wednesday) and is set to start for Benfica, unless an agreement can be reached in the meantime.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich must now decide whether to dig deep for a versatile defender seen by manager Carlo Ancelotti as the steadying influence needed for a back line that has looked increasingly vulnerable after being disrupted by injury.
Former Everton and Liverpool defender Abel Xavier is in no doubt he would prove value for money, after catching the attention of several leading clubs in the Barclays Premier League over the past two seasons.
'I had a great time in English football,' he said. 'I know what it is all about and what the demands are, and I have no doubt that David would be a great success at Chelsea.
'First of all, he is a very good defender, but he is also comfortable on the ball and would contribute a lot, in terms of turning defence into attack.
'He is still young, too, and will carry on improving and developing, as he gains more experience. I think he will prove a great asset for Chelsea. He is just what they need.'
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