Barca to raid Blues for two key players.
Spanish giants Barcelona could be set to launch a sensational raid on Chelsea as they eye both David Luiz and Thibaut Courtois for a combined fee of around £50m, CaughtOffside can reveal.
Both players have been long-term targets for Barcelona, who are desperate to strengthen in the defensive department after some worrying displays last season saw them caught out against the bigger sides.
And with long-serving goalkeeper Victor Valdes set to leave the club in the summer when his contract runs down, Barca manager Gerardo Martino has eyed up Blues youngster Courtois as the ideal long-term replacement for the Spanish shot-stopper.
Courtois is currently on loan in La Liga with Barca’s rivals Atletico Madrid, and would likely see out his time with Diego Simeone’s side after agreeing on a season-long move to the Spanish capital.
However, Barcelona will still try their luck with a £20m bid this January to secure his services for next season, in advance of Valdes’ departure, which has also seen the Nou Camp side linked with several other big-name candidates as replacements.
Liverpool’s Pepe Reina has long been considered one of their priorities, though Barcelona sense an opportunity to move for Courtois due to his uncertain future at Chelsea, as he faces a tough fight to displace Petr Cech as the club’s first choice, despite his obvious potential.
Chelsea have been keen to keep hold of him for the future, and the young Belgian is currently on loan at Atletico for a third season in a row, though he is understood to be keen on a permanent move if Chelsea will not promote him to their number one next term. A move to Barcelona in particular is also said to appeal to him.
Meanwhile, Barca are also set to revive their interest in Brazilian centre-back Luiz, whose slightly eccentric performances at the back for the Blues are not going down well with Jose Mourinho, who is known for taking great pride in the defensive organisation of his teams.
Luiz has been in and out of the Chelsea starting lineup this season and won’t have impressed Mourinho this weekend as his poor error of judgement led to a goal for Cardiff City at Stamford Bridge, though the Blues went on to win the game 4-1.
With Carles Puyol now 35 and looking past his best, Martino is concerned about his options at the back and made Luiz a prime target in the summer, though he missed out on the 26-year-old as well as on the likes of Liverpool’s Daniel Agger and Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala.
Although Chelsea have been firm that Luiz is not for sale, Barcelona feel they may now be able to tempt Mourinho into letting the former Benfica man leave for a fee of around £30m, a fee Barca are more than happy to pay for a technically gifted player whose attacking style from the back may be more suited to the brand of football on show at the Nou Camp.
With £48m going on the signing of Brazilian starlet Neymar in the summer, Barca hope an extra £50m’s worth of spending this January will cement their status as title favourites this season.