Neymar may have been presented to the media and fans at the Camp Nou on Monday, but Barcelona’s hunt for defensive reinforcements goes on. Having signed the Brazilian to add a much-needed attacking option, the Blaugrana is now in need of strengthening a back line that has looked vulnerable for some time and was crudely exposed in the climax of this season.
With number one target Thiago Silva again proving out of their reach and Vincent Kompany having committed his future to Manchester City, Barcelona may be turning their attention firmly toward Chelsea’s David Luiz. The charismatic Brazilian would seem an ideal fit for Barcelona with his ability on the ball and willingness and capability to step forward into midfield.
Spanish daily Marca has asserted that Barcelona have identified the 26-year-old as a leading target, although it is believed that Chelsea’s reported €40 million asking price could be a stumbling block. Chelsea may not put up such tough resistance if reports in Britain are to be believed, however. The Daily Star has claimed that new Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is no big fan of David Luiz and will sanction his sale for €35m.
But the Brazil international may not be the only Chelsea defender on Barcelona’s radar. Spanish publication Sport speculates that Branislav Ivanovic’s recent trip to Barcelona may have been more than just a vacation. The Serbian has been at Stamford Bridge since 2008 and would offer the flexibility of being able to play both at center back and at right back. His technical ability is not the best, however, something that would appear to make him an unlikely target for the Catalans.
Barcelona could also be looking closer to home to improve their back line. Barcelona-based publication Mundo Deportivo reports that the Blaugrana are closely monitoring the situation with Valencia trio Adil Rami, Jeremy Mathieu and Victor Ruiz. Following Valencia’s failure to qualify for the Champions League and the club’s financial woes, all three could be available at a reasonable price.
Rami, a 27-year-old France international, has already revealed that he is keen for a fresh challenge. “I want to try somewhere else,” he said, according to Mundo Deportivo. “I have a two year contract, but, if there is an interesting proposal, I could leave Valencia. Now my desire is to find a big club. France? I don’t think so, although I do think that what Monaco is doing is good for the country and its football.”
In other speculation, British tabloid the Sun has claimed that Barcelona are also one of the clubs prepared to offer €94 million for Gareth Bale. Real Madrid have been strongly linked with the Tottenham forward after his sensational season, while Manchester United, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are also credited with an interest.
Yet, it seems hard to believe that Barcelona will be capable of spending such a sum of money. The Catalans operate on a stricter budget than the likes of rivals Real Madrid and it is already believed that sales will need to be made in order to fund further purchases. And, having signed Neymar, another attacker is no longer a priority.