Barcelona look to do battle with Mourinho and Chelsea for €30 million defensive target

FC Porto Trophy Celebration

Barca are said to be joining the race for Chelsea target Eliaquim Mangala of FC Porto.

Jose Mourinho is once again at the helm of Chelsea FC and with that will come the immediate chitter-chatter of how he will renovate the squad at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea look on the verge of finalising a deal for Bayer Leverkusen attacker Andre Schurrle after months of speculation but Mourinho will be keen to add his own wanted men to the troupe.

One such player being investigated as a possible transfer target is FC Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala.

Arsenal fans you will probably remember him for a tackle on Kieran Gibbs that left the Arsenal defender with a broken foot back in 2009.

Since then the 22-year-old has come on leaps and bounds and recently made his first appearance for the senior French national team in this week’s international friendly with Uruguay. The youngster played alongside Arsenal centre-half Laurent Koscielny as Les Bleus lost their encounter with Uruguay thanks to a goal from Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.

But it is a testament to his continued growth as a player that he featured ahead of the likes Mamadou Sakho and Adil Rami at the heart of France’s defence.

He spoke of his joy at the link with Mourinho and Chelsea a week ago stating:

"It's flattering because Chelsea are a great club and Mourinho is a great coach. I intended to stay in Porto but you never know what will happen in football, especially when big clubs are involved.’’

Mangala is clearly a possible transfer in the making then but Porto do not let players go on the cheap. The first stumbling block would have to be talking them down from their current reported asking price of a figure in the region of €30 million.

But now a new spanner in the works has arose.

Mourinho went toe-to-toe with Barcelona plenty of times as a coach during his time at Real Madrid and now that seems ready to continue; in the transfer market.

Reports suggest that Barcelona are ready to enter the race for Mangala; as they desperately seek defensive reinforcements after their humbling defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League laid bare the issues at the back.

And considering he is likely to feature far more regularly in the heart of a Barca defence then that of Chelsea, considering the competition for places in both clubs, his comments on first-team football should read ominous for Chelsea fans:

"At Porto I play every week and I am involved in the title fight and the Champions League. And that is important to me."

Barcelona will surely afford him more game-time considering their current defensive shortage and that may give them the lead in any transfer battle.

image: © dioxido

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