Barcelona want David Luiz as Puyol replacement

Barcelona are lining up an audacious €40m bid to lure Chelsea defender David Luiz to Camp Nou in the summer, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

The paper says Barcelona see the Brazilian as a long-term replacement for Carles Puyol, who will be 34 next month and has become increasingly injury-prone. Coach Pep Guardiola has regularly been forced to use Javier Mascherano as a makeshift centre half, but Barca are seeking a longer-term replacement for the veteran skipper, who will be out of contract in 2013.

Marca reported earlier this month that Thiago Silva remains Barca’s preferred choice to strengthen their central defence, but his present club Milan is likely to resist any overtures from the Catalans to secure his services. Barcelona had previously tracked David Luiz when he was playing for Benfica, but the frizzy-haired Brazilian eventually joined Chelsea for €24m.

Barca see David Luiz as a player whose style would suit them perfectly, especially alongside Gerard Pique in defence, but they may be equally attracted by the versatility of a player who appears equally adept in midfield or as a central defender. According to Marca, the player himself has openly acknowledged the interest of Barcelona more than once, but has always denied receiving a firm offer.

“I’d be lying if I said I know nothing,” said the man whose all-action style has made him a fans’ favourite at Stamford Bridge. “I am aware, not least because for months there have been rumours of (Barcelona’s) possible interest. I can only confirm that I have not negotiated anything and nobody has made me a firm offer. I am Chelsea’s one hundred per cent.”

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