Chelsea will once again welcome attention from Barcelona this winter, with the Spanish champions said to be reviving their interest in David Luiz.
The Brazilian international was fervently associated with a move to the Camp Nou throughout the summer months, but a deal failed to materialise over what the Daily Star's Nick Lustig labelled a transfer-fee dispute.
Barca have long been reported as admirers of the South American stalwart and will try to force the Blues' hand in January so that they finally land a target who would improve their threadbare defence.
Barca manager Gerardo Martino is eager to bolster his defensive options with Carlos Puyol and Gerard Pique increasingly injury-prone and hopes a revived bid for Luiz, 26, will ultimately end in success.
And according to reports in Spain, Chelsea are willing to let Luiz leave the club in the upcoming transfer window with Barcelona hopeful their £29m bid will be accepted.
Luiz has gone through his own period of injury troubles of late, missing out in recent weeks thanks to a knee problem.
However, the signs were already there that Jose Mourinho may be easing the centre-back out of his plans, with John Terry and Gary Cahill taking precedence in central defence this season.
The 26-year-old has had his share of highlights during a two-and-a-half-year tenure at Stamford Bridge, but for every positive that Luiz has contributed, a costly moment of overzealousness has undone his good work.
|David Luiz 2013/14 Premier League Statistics|
|Luiz Status||Games||Clean Sheets||Goals Conceded||Avg. Goals Conceded Per Game|
|Luiz in Chelsea Starting XI||5||0||9||1.8|
|Luiz Out of Squad||10||4||7||0.7|
Luiz remains an enigmatic quantity whose flair at centre-back sometimes sets him apart from the rest, owing itself to the argument that he could actually be of more use in a deep-lying midfield role.
Barcelona's interest is understandable and it may even be argued that Luiz would be better suited to La Liga. The Premier League often demands no-nonsense defending, while players are starved of time in possession.
In La Liga, attacks build slowly, defenders stroll out from the back four and there is a greater emphasis on reading the game, rather than blood-and-thunder challenges. Luiz suits such a style.
Regardless, it's uncertain as to how eager Mourinho is to sell his Brazilian asset, who may not be willing to settle for a place primarily on the bench, should Terry and Cahill maintain their spots as first-choice defensive pairing.
Mourinho would need to find cover for his centre-halves, with Branislav Ivanovic the only other option in that position, although he is currently Chelsea's first-choice right-back.
In any case, the deal offers Chelsea a chance to make a small profit on a player whose worth arguably hasn't truly increased since his 2011 move from Benfica. The proposed transfer to Barcelona could turn out to be an equally good deal for the La Liga giants and Chelsea, but only if Mourinho does it on his terms.
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