Chelsea defender David Luiz has long been linked with a move to Barcelona, but the Spanish side are now reportedly readying a bid for Roma’s Mehdi Benatia.
With Carles Puyol retiring, Barca were always going to look for defensive reinforcements this summer. In truth, they would almost certainly have signed such players even if the Spanish legend had not opted to hang up his boots.
But of all the names linked with the Catalan club, that of Luiz just kept coming back, to such an extent that some reports earlier this year even claimed a deal had been done to take the Brazilian to the Nou Camp this summer.
Those reports were never confirmed, and the Spanish press would later question Chelsea’s reported asking price of £32million for a defender who cost them £21.3million when he signed from Benfica back in 2011.
But it now seems Barcelona have alternatives, with Il Messaggero claiming the Spanish side will offer Roma £24million for a player who has also been strongly linked with Manchester United and Manchester City among others.
If Barca get Benatia, and with Gerard Pique already at the Nou Camp, they are unlikely to spend big on another centre-back; leaving Luiz’s future in some doubt.
Of course he could simply remain at Stamford Bridge. But of all Chelsea’s current first-team players, it is Luiz who is most regularly linked with an exit, suggesting that only so much can be taken as conjecture.
Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked with Luiz, and they could be just about the only viable alternative if Barca do sign Benatia; which begs the question: Will Luiz’s possible dream move to Barcelona be scuppered by Chelsea’s asking-price?
After all, Benatia is no worse a defender than Luiz and he could be available for £8million less than the Brazilian’s reported price-tag.