Barcelona are now at the head of the queue for Chelsea defender David Luiz after Bayern Munich pulled out of the race to sign him.
According to John Edwards of the Daily Mail, Bayern boss Pep Guardiola said the following: "It is not true (that I will be signing Luiz). I have four or five central defenders already and don’t need another one."
It's true. Guardiola already has Dante, Jerome Boateng, Daniel Van Buyten and Holger Badstuber to call upon, plus the versatile Javi Martinez if required.
And having already spent big on Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze and Barcelona's Thiago Alcantara this summer, Munich may have struggled to find a transfer fee big enough to tempt Chelsea into selling anyway.
This leaves Barca with a free shot at trying to lure Luiz to pastures new, with recently appointed manager Gerardo Martino determined to sign a centre-back this summer.
The Catalan giants struggled defensively last season, none more so than when they faced eventual Champions League winners Bayern in the semi-finals of the competition, losing 7-0 on aggregate.
Luiz features near the top of a five-man list that also includes four other Premier League stars—Manchester City's Vincent Kompany, Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen, Liverpool's Daniel Agger and Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen.
However, Barcelona have held a long-term interest in Luiz, ever since Guardiola was in charge at the Nou Camp.
After initially struggling to adapt to the pace of England's top division, Luiz has blossomed into one of the best defenders in the league and arguably Chelsea's first-choice centre-back.
He has also established himself in Luiz Felipe Scolari's Brazil side and starred in his country's win at the recent Confederations Cup.
Although he is still prone to the odd mistake, Luiz's talent far outweighs the negative aspects of his game.
He's a ball-playing defender with supreme confidence and an ability to pick a pass that others can't. He has also proven he can play as a deep-lying midfielder capable of breaking up attacks and pushing forward.
Add to all of this an eye for spectacular goals and pinpoint set-pieces, and it's clear to see why Barcelona are so keen to land the 26-year-old.
Whether Luiz would want to leave Stamford Bridge is another question. According to ESPN, he recently told Brazilian newspaper O Globo, "I do not like the rumours about me and the possible departure. I have a contract with Chelsea until June 2017 and do not want to talk to other clubs."
It's clear that Barcelona will face a battle to sign Luiz this summer, but with Bayern Munich now out of the picture that battle just got a little bit easier.
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