New twist in David Luiz saga as Barcelona chase €20m Valencia star

Imminent Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has identified Valencia star Jeremy Mathieu as his ideal centre-back, a situation which may halt proceedings in the chase for Chelsea defender David Luiz.

Despite Barcelona playing such a crucial title-deciding fixture this weekend against Atletico Madrid, much of the talk in Catalonia this week has been about the possible Barcelona XI next season.

A number of changes are expected to be made, and following the official retirement of club captain Carles Puyol, a new centre-back is high on the agenda.

According to the Brazilian press Lancenet, Barcelona have reportedly been in negotiations with Chelsea over defender David Luiz, with a deal expected to be finalized for when the player returns from this summer’s World Cup.

Formal negotiations, however, have yet to be confirmed by either club and the Blues’ supporters may feel relieved as a result of further reports coming out of Spain.

In a report published by the Spanish paper AS, expected-to-be Barcelona boss this summer Luis Enrique has identified €20m Valencia star Jeremy Mathieu as the centre-back replacement for Puyol.

The 30-year-old French international has a contract which runs out in 2017. However, after allegedly rejecting the attentions of Bayern Munich, Barca’s sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta is confident the player could move north of the Mestalla this summer.

Should Barcelona opt for Jeremy Mathieu, it leaves Chelsea star David Luiz in a difficult situation ahead of next season.

The Brazilian international appears happy enough at Stamford Bridge, though he hasn’t been treated as a first-team regular by boss Jose Mourinho. The 27-year-old made just 19 Premier League appearances, and a further eight in the Champions League – therefore becoming Chelsea 14th most used player of the season.

With Chelsea boss Mourinho perhaps counting on a big sale so that he can use the money to strengthen further areas of his own team, it would appear that the future surrounding current Barca boss Gerardo Martino also has its implications in West London.

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