Antonio Conte was thought to be targeting tough-tackling Serie A centre-halves such as Kalidou Koulibaly and Nikola Maksimovic during his fist summer at Chelsea, so how he ended up with David Luiz is still a mystery.
The best guess is that Conte will at least occasionally revert to the 3-5-2 he used with Italy during Euro 2016 when all his centre-halves are fit, but it still feels like the Sideshow Bob lookalike has foisted himself upon the clearly desperate former Juventus chief, via the goodwill of Blues supporters.
Conte was right to be panicked, with his side previously an injury away from 19-year-old right-back Ola Aina, the only Chelsea defender to make the bench in the 3-0 win over Burnley, being forced into the action.
John Terry is well into his 36th year with partner Gary Cahill not far off 31, while currently injured Frenchman Kurt Zouma sits at the opposite end of the spectrum at 21.
Having signed up Luiz and uncapped Spaniard Marcos Alonso, formerly of Bolton and Sunderland, for combined fees of around £55m, the next defensive pillar in Conte’s Chelsea rebuild could be Benfica’s Victor Lindelof, according to reports from Italy.
The 22-year-old Swede, who played at centre-half and right-back for his country at Euro 2016, has a release clause that could reach €45m by January, with Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and the Blues all thought keen nonetheless.
Lindelof’s 2016 rise has been swift, having only made his first Sweden appearance in March after breaking into the Eagles’ first team at the start of the year, although the Vasteras native had been a regular for Benfica B since his late teens.
With Cesar Azpilicueta and Branislav Ivanovic covering right-back, Lindelof would likely be seen as a youthful injection into Chelsea’s aging centre-half ranks.
He won’t be around until January at the earliest though, with the 9/2 third favourites for the Premier League title hoping Luiz’s shock return works out in the meantime.