Chelsea tell Barcelona to up Luiz bid to €50 million

Barcelona have been told to double their
opening offer for Chelsea centre-back David Luiz if they want to sign the Brazil international this summer. After rejecting a bid worth a potential
€25 million, the Blues have placed a
valuation of €50m on the versatile
defender. Such a fee would represent a new high-
water mark for a defender, exceeding
the €42m Paris Saint-Germain paid to
beat Barcelona to the signature of
Thiago Silva last year. The Spanish
champions have spent the entire summer attempting to solve the
problem left by that transfer market
failure. Seeking a defender with sufficient
physical and technical ability to
strengthen their porous backline while
contributing to their possession-based
tactics, Barca initially attempted to
recruit Thiago Silva again only to be rebuffed by PSG before suffering the
ignominy of losing the race to sign
Marquinhos from Roma to les Parisiens. The subsequent bid for David Luiz – with
€20m guaranteed and a further €5m
dependent on performances – was less
than the 26-year-old’s purchase price
from Benfica and was quickly rejected. However, Camp Nou coach Gerardo
Martino is aware that the Catalans are
very unlikely to pay the figure Chelsea
are demanding and looks set to settle
on his current options – the likes of
Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Marca Bartra and Frank Bagnack – unless he can find
an alternative. “If they need a central defender my
advice is that they have to go to the
second name they have in the list
because they are wasting their time,”
said Mourinho after the offer became
public. While Barcelona are ready to increase the sum to €25m plus
variables, Chelsea will not sell at that
level. The Catalans have looked at two other
Premier League defenders as
alternatives, opening discussions with
Tottenham over Jan Vertonghen and
placing a bid with Liverpool for Daniel
Agger. Neither move has been well received. Spurs expect to lose Gareth Bale to Real
Madrid, so have no interest in selling a
defender who excelled in his first
season in English football, scoring
seven goals in 48 appearances and
being named in the Premier League’s Team of the Year. Vertonghen is aware of Barcelona’s
interest in signing him and, according to
a friend, he has long held an ambition
of playing for the Camp Nou club. He
has, though, enjoyed both his first year
at White Hart lane and is thought unlikely to push for a transfer in the
manner Bale has. Liverpool flatly rejected Barca’s
proposed €6m transfer fee for Agger, a
player who was close to moving to
Manchester City for several times that
amount 12 months ago. “We are aware that Barcelona have
made an offer for Daniel that Liverpool
have rejected,” said the Dane’s agent
Per Steffensen. “Daniel has a contract with Liverpool for
the next three years and it would be up
to the clubs to agree a fee for his
transfer in order for that to change.” If a deal remains impossible to agree for
one of their three Premier League
targets, Barca may turn to France
international Mamadou Sakho, who has
been relegated to reserve status at PSG.