Spanish champions Barcelona are prepared to bid £25m for Chelsea defender David Luiz, according to Goal.com. The 26-year-old Brazil international is reportedly a key target for new manager Gerardo Martino, as he looks to build on the squad left him by his predecessor, Tito Vilanova.
The Catalans have been often linked to Luiz this summer, as they hunt for a long-term replacement for club captain and icon Carlos Puyol; the fiery Spain international is 35 years old and has struggled greatly with injury problems over the past few seasons.
Reports from Spain initially suggested Nou Camp chiefs were concentrating on another Brazilian international - Thiago Silva. However, the 28-year-old defender's present employers - Ligue 1 champions Paris St Germain (PSG) have categorically ruled out any possible transfer.
The former AC Milan star joined the Parc des Princes club in 2011, for a massive €42m and has since established himself as one of the finest centre-backs in world football. In addition, he still has four seasons left on his original contract with PSG, meaning any transfer fee quoted will be an exorbitant sum.
And in May, Spanish sport website Mundo Deportivo highlighted Luiz as Barcelona's preferred option to Thiago Silva. However, as president Sandro Rosell will be aware, the shock-haired Blues star will likely also be an expensive proposition. He took his time to settle into Stamford Bridge but superb all-round performances towards the end of last season, from both a defensive midfield position and a more conventional centre-back role, have seen his stock grow.
An earlier report by the Mail Online suggested Barcelona's arch-rivals, Real Madrid, were also interested in Luiz, given Santiago Bernabeu officials could lose Portugal international Pepe to Manchester City.
Jose Mourinho's Decision
Needless to say, the decision on Luiz's future will be left entirely to José Mourinho. The former Madrid and Inter Milan boss has been quoted as confirming Luiz's position in his plans for the new season. Mourinho was referring specifically to rumours that Chelsea had offered a player/cash deal for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney (the player being one of Juan Mata or Luiz).
The Portuguese boss was asked if he had plans to sell Luiz and he replied: "No chance, no chance."
However, Goal.com believes Mourinho may have a different private opinion and could look to raise funds through Luiz's sale. The Metro believes Mourinho has identified Brazil U20 International Doria as a new signing and will offer Botafogo £8.2m for the 18-year-old.
There is also a decision to be taken on ex-England international John Terry, who turns 33 in December and will need to be replaced.