Lucas Lima
Lucas Lima is out of contract at Santos at the end of the year. Getty

Santos midfielder Lucas Lima has reportedly agreed terms to join Barcelona as a free agent in January. Fox Sport Brasil claims that the deal for the 26-year-old player to join the La Liga giants during the winter window is already done following a personal request from Neymar.

Lima has previously been linked with a move to European football after garnering a big reputation in his homeland. Despite playing in the Brazilian league, he was a regular for Carlos Dunga in the national team during their 2015 and 2016 campaigns.

Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Porto were all then reportedly interested in his services but none decided to take the gamble and pay a big fee for a player without no experience in European football.

However, the situation is now different as the midfielder is out of contract at Santos at the end of the year and will thus be available on a free transfer.

Fox Sport Brasil claims that Barcelona have now opted to take advantage of the situation and will bring him to the Nou Camp ahead of the January transfer window.

Popular journalist Benjamin Back says the agreement between Lima and Barcelona is already settled and the player will move to the Nou Camp on 1 January ahead of the second half of the 2017-2018 campaign.

Furthermore, the report suggests that Neymar has personally recommended his signing to Barcelona officials as he is a close friend of the current Santos star. There were also suggestions in 2015 that Lima was dating Neymar's sister Rafaella.

The reports come as a surprise as Barcelona are expected to strengthen in the middle of the park during the summer transfer window.

New manager Ernesto Valverde has reportedly earmarked the signing of Marco Verratti as his marquee signing of the summer and it has been said that the Italian midfielder has already asked Paris Saint Germain to let him leave for the Nou Camp.

Yet, the futures of other midfielders such as Andres Iniesta, Arda Turan, Rafinha Alcantara and Andre Gomes also remain up in the air, with the Barcelona captain having entered the final 12 months of his contract.