Lucas Hernandez
Lucas Hernandez enjoyed an impressive breakthrough at Atletico Madrid last term. Getty

Barcelona have stepped up their scouting of Atletico Madrid centre-back Lucas Hernandez ahead of a future approach, according to Mundo Deportivo. The Catalans are also understood to be monitoring Lucas's brother Theo, with the left-back enjoying an impressive start to the season on loan at Alaves.

The brothers were previously linked with a move to the Nou Camp last season, with Barcelona boss Luis Enrique looking for defensive reinforcements following the departures of Marc Bartra, Thomas Vermaelen and Adriano.

The La Liga giants eventually swooped for Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Digne to replace Vermaelen and Adriano, but failed to sign Las Palmas starlet Mauricio Lemos to fill the gap left by Bartra.

Gerard Pique, Jeremy Mathieu and Javier Mascherano are all capable of covering the position, but the latter two are already 32-years-old. Furthermore, the Argentine's future at the club is under scrutiny amid recent reports linking him with a big-money move to the Chinese football.

Mundo Deportivo claims Barcelona have stepped up the scouting of Lucas after the 20-year-old defender impressed them during his breakthrough season at the Vicente Calderon, flourishing alongside Diego Godin during the Champions League quarter final victory over the Catalans.

Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez has been spotted at the last two Atletico Madrid games, against Bayern and Valencia, with other sources claiming he is also keeping a close eye on Yannick Carrasco.

However, Mundo Deportivo claims that luring the France U21 international out from Atletico will not be easy, as in August Los Colchoneros handed the player a new long-term deal until 2020, doubling his release clause to €40m (£35.3m, $44.7).

Mundo Deportivo also claims Barcelona are monitoring Lucas's brother, Theo. The 18-year-old left-back belongs to Atletico Madrid but is currently thriving on loan at Alaves. He also signed a new deal at the Calderon last summer, as he is expected to be the long-term replacement of Filipe Luis in Diego Simeone's side.