The Catalans have a long and successful history of importing the Premier League’s finest but Blues boss Jose Mourinho has insisted the 26-year-old big-haired Brazilian is part of his plans for the coming season and is not for sale.
Luiz was an outstanding performer for the Europa League champions last term and a move to Barcelona is a tempting proposition for any footballer in the world. The Catalans recently signed his young compatriot and Brazil teammate Neymar from Santos and already have the likes of Dani Alves and Adriano within their ranks.
At present, Barca reply on club veteran and captain Carles Puyol but at 35 years of age and with a record of injuries and niggles, new boss Gerardo Martino could use some additional quality to partner Spain defender Gerard Pique.
The Catalans were thoroughly embarrassed in their Champions League semi-final defeat to Bayern Munich. The eventual European champions managed to put 7 goals past the Spanish champions without reply and completely exposed Barcelona’s weakness and lack of quality options at the back.
The likes of Marc Bartra and defensive midfielder Alex Song were completely outclassed for much of last term and, naturally, Barcelona are looking for either replacements or competition for the pair.
David Luiz would be ideal – at 26 and with an abundance of top level experience in the Premier League, Champions League and at international level with Brazil, he would likely be worth every penny of his £35-plus million price-tag but the Blues, understandably, a more than a little reluctant to let him go.
Their London rivals Tottenham, meanwhile, are in the middle of an ugly transfer saga themselves with Barcelona’s La Liga archrivals Real Madrid over Welshman Gareth Bale. Spurs also happen to have within their ranks an exceptionally gifted world-class centre-back in Jan Vertonghen.
The 6ft2” Belgian only signed for Tottenham last summer but his presence in Andre Villas-Boas’ backline was both immediate and crucial. However, the North Londoners failed to qualify for a Champions League place and as a consequence could struggle to hold on to their best players this summer.
Vertonghen is the same height and age as his Chelsea counterpart and he too can fill in as a defensive midfielder if need be. They are remarkably similar players.
Vertonghen actually has a higher pass completion rate of 88.1% compared to Luiz’ 81.4% which would suit Barcelona’s tikka-takka style ideally. Luiz adds to his skill set an impressive left-foot for long shots and in dead-ball situations but with the likes of Lionel Mess, Neymar, Xavi and Andres Iniesta it’s unlikely that would be a priority for the Catalans in a centre-back.
Vertonghen recorded a higher number of aerial duels won per game last term – 1.8 per game compared to Luiz’ 1.7 per game.
They can both be dangerous going forward – Luiz managed two goals and two assists for Chelsea in the league but again Vertonghen is superior. He scored 4 and made 3 for Spurs last term.
Considering that Barcelona are prepared to splash £35 million on David Luiz, they should really be doing their Premier League homework and targeting the Spurs man who they could probably secure for much less than that price.
Tottenham would be more than a little reluctant to let him abscond but, as we’ve seen time and time again, the Catalans rarely have much trouble getting the players they want in the long-run.
Overall, Jan Vertonghen would suit the Spanish champions better than David Luiz and he likely be easier to acquire given that Tottenham missed out on the Champions League again.
image: © thearcticblues