David Luiz has enjoyed mixed fortunes since arriving in England two years ago, yet his stock continues to rise.
Three top officials from FC Barcelona met in New York City this week to discuss the clubâs transfer strategy, and the outcome saw Luiz rise to the top of Barcaâs list of targets for upcoming summer transfer window, according to the Mail.
âBarca coach Tito Vilanova, who is currently on sick leave,Â met with sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta, technical secretary Albert ValentĂn and football co-ordinator Narcis Julia in the United States,â the report says.
âVilanova is keen to strengthen hisÂ defenseÂ despite club captain Carles Puyol only recent signing a new deal at the Nou Camp and 25-year-old Luiz is seen as a long-term replacement, despite the BrazilÂ centerÂ half struggling for consistency at Stamford Bridge this season.â
Luiz has endured much criticism since he moved to Chelsea in January 2011. The Blues paid Portugalâs Benfica ÂŁ21.3 million ($33 million) for the Brazilian defender, but he struggled to adapt to the pace and rigors of the English game at the outset.
However, his fortunes improved along with Chelseaâs in the latter part of the 2011-12 season and he ended the campaign with FA Cup and UEFA Champions League winnersâ medals. His good form carried into the current season the current season despite playing in a midfield role at times under new Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez. Luiz has done a good job in front of the defense, but his future for club and country (he is a first-choice defender for Brazilâs national team) lies at the back.
Barcelona has soared for much of the season. The Spanish club is in contention to win league, cup and European honors. But defense remains a point of concern. Puyol and Gerard PiqueÂ are the only two specialist center backs in the first team. Alex Song,Â Javier Mascherano and Sergio BusquetsÂ have filled in at times this season, but the three have spent most of their careers as midfielders.
Itâs unknown how Chelsea will react to an approach for Luiz. The Premier League club would most likely want to recoup the value of its investment. Adding Luiz would show that Barcelona is serious about improving its defense. After all, itâs been three-and-a-half years since Barca signed a specialist central defender â Dmytro Chygrynskiy.Â The Ukrainian defender only lasted on season at the Camp Nou, and theyâve made do (quite well) ever since.
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