Blues snap up Torres, Luiz
Fernando Torres tonight sealed his record-breaking move to Chelsea and David Luiz also looked to have completed a mega-money deadline-day switch to Stamford Bridge.
Torres and Luiz both beat the 11pm cut-off to join the Premier League champions, who splashed out an incredible £75m on the pair this evening.
Striker Torres arrived for a reported £50m from Liverpool, smashing the transfer record between British clubs, while Benfica finally allowed defender Luiz to move on in a £25m-plus deal.
After signing a five-and-a-half-year contract at Stamford Bridge, Spain striker Torres told his new club's official website, www.chelseafc.com: "I am very happy with my transfer to Chelsea and I am looking forward very much to helping my new team-mates this season and for many years to come.
"Having played against Chelsea many times since coming to England, and in some very big games I will never forget, I know there are many great players here and I will work hard to win a place in the team. I hope I can score some important goals for the supporters to enjoy this season."
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: "This is a very significant day for Chelsea, capturing one of the best players in the world with his peak years ahead of him. We have long admired the talents of a player who is a proven goalscorer in English football and Fernando's arrival is a sign of our continuing high ambitious. I hope every Chelsea fan is as excited as I am with this news."
Chief executive Ron Gourlay added: "Signing a player of the stature of Fernando Torres benefits the club on many levels. Carlo Ancelotti was keen to add his talents to the squad as we continue our quest for three trophies this season.
"We are delighted we have succeed with that wish, and this signing will undoubtedly aid the club in realising our worldwide potential."
Chelsea had a £35m bid turned down for Torres on Thursday but that set off a chain of events which saw Liverpool reject a written transfer request from the 26-year-old. But the Reds ultimately accepted an improved offer from the Londoners, who failed to buy Torres last summer, after managing to secure Andy Carroll as a replacement.
Luiz deal resurrected
A Chelsea announcement on Luiz was expected tonight after Benfica released a statement confirming they had accepted a player-plus-cash deal that would see the Blues pay £21.4m and young midfielder Nemanja Matic join the Portuguese champions as a makeweight.
The deal had looked dead on Friday but Chelsea managed to resurrect it today, making Luiz one of the most expensive defenders ever to move to the UK. Reports suggest the deal would see £17.1m paid up front, with another £4.3m due in 2013. A busy day at Stamford Bridge also saw England U-21 striker Daniel Sturridge join Bolton on loan until the end of the season.
Tonight's double-swoop was a real statement of intent from owner Roman Abramovich, who had reined in his spending during the previous two years. It does raise questions about the club's ability to adhere to UEFA's upcoming Financial Fair Play Regulations on the day they announced a loss of £70.9m.
However, Torres and Luiz will plug the gaps in the Chelsea squad, which were exposed towards the end of last year when injuries to key players saw them embark on their worst run of form in the Premier League for almost 15 years.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti has repeatedly declared otherwise but the summer departures of Ricardo Carvalho, Michael Ballack, Deco, Juliano Belletti and Joe Cole robbed last season's double winners of crucial experience.
The departures on loan of regular bench warmers Sturridge, Gael Kakuta, Patrick van Aanholt, and arguably Jacob Mellis - who joined Barnsley today - also left them with just 17 fit outfield players with first-team experience.
Deals may see tactical change
Luiz's versatility will be of particular benefit, with the Brazil international able to play across the back four. Torres, though, provides an interesting conundrum for manager Ancelotti, who insisted on Friday the Spaniard could play with Didier Drogba and was not a replacement for the Ivorian. That may see the Blues boss ditch his favoured 4-3-3 formation and play the duo in what would be a mouthwatering partnership.
Ancelotti was not in London tonight to witness Torres' arrival, with the Chelsea squad having flown to the north-east this afternoon ahead of tomorrow night's game at Sunderland. The Black Cats arguably provided the wake-up call Abramovich needed when they romped to a crushing 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge in November.
Torres is unlikely to be rushed into action tomorrow, and it is unclear whether there is any agreement preventing him playing against Liverpool on Sunday.