With the news of Barcelona legend Carles Puyol leaving the Catalan giants at the end of the season (as reported by Jason Burt from The Telegraph), word is spreading the club have turned to Chelsea's David Luiz as his replacement.
Barcelona's interest in Luiz isn't new, as Chelsea reportedly rejected a £20 million offer for Luiz as recently as last summer, according to The Telegraph.
As outlined by the English handle for Spanish news outlet AS, it's obvious why Barcelona would be interested in Luiz:
Lots of people see David Luiz as Puyol's natural replacement... is it because of the hair?!?!?!— AS English (@English_AS) March 5, 2014
All kidding aside, the Catalan interest isn't new and it isn't surprising. While Luiz may have his detractors (chiefly amongst Arsenal fans), he remains one of the most technically and athletically gifted centre-backs in all of world football.
Luiz's ability on the ball would suit Barcelona's ball-heavy style of play nicely, and FIFA's official Twitter handle seems to agree he could help stabilize Barcelona's defense:
RT @TMpebelicious: David Luiz for Barcelona. He will fit our style of play and will stabilise our `exposed` defence— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) August 15, 2013
The bid currently being lined up by the Catalan club is reported to be around £25 million (per The Telegraph's Jason Burt), a number that would appear to be significantly lower than Chelsea's valuation of the player, at £50 million.
While that price tag was set to discourage Barcelona from making any attempt on Luiz, his actual price will be closer to Chelsea's valuation than Barcelona's reported offer.
According to Sport Witness, Luiz has his sights set on leaving the club:
Edmilson has said Jose Mourinho is aware David Luiz wants to leave Chelsea. More soon...— Sport Witness (@Sport_Witness) March 5, 2014
That report however goes directly against this statement from Chelsea News:
Chelsea defender Luiz loves playing for Mourinho - Chelsea defender David Luiz loves playing for manager Jose Mo... http://t.co/WEJbEh3G1I— Chelsea News (@chelseanewsonly) February 18, 2014
And if Jose Mourinho's stunt where he invaded Luiz's interview was any indication, morale in Chelsea's locker room is as high as can be, and there are no problems between the Portuguese coach and his Brazilian defender.
Luiz is of great value to Chelsea, mainly because of his versatility. While he plays primarily as a centre-back, he is also perfectly capable of playing as a defensive midfielder. In fact, it might be his best position. At least, that's what Xavi seems to think:
Xavi: "David Luiz? Think he's a very good player, great defensive midfielder, had a good Confederations Cup. We'll see, up to the directors"— barcastuff (@barcastuff) August 1, 2013
Chelsea may have purchased Nemanja Matic in January, but it wasn't so long ago they used the young Serbian to lure the Brazil international to Stamford Bridge in the first place. With John Terry nearing the end of his career, Luiz is Chelsea's best option in the centre of the defense.
While the team's results have been excellent so far this season, the back line in undergoing a bit of a changing of the guards. The aforementioned Terry needs to be replaced and Ashley Cole, Chelsea's most reliable wing-back for years, has been outplayed and replaced by Cesar Azpilicueta.
Chelsea need a sense of continuity on their back line right now, someone who has seen it all before. At the age of 26, Luiz is just hitting his prime, and as centre-backs traditionally age well, now would not seem like the right time to sell.
Unless Barcelona are willing to go anywhere near Chelsea's valuation of the player, selling Luiz doesn't make sense. This fan has the right idea:
We should not sell David Luiz. Unless someone pays £40m #Chelsea— Ashwani (@ashwanirana) March 5, 2014
You don't sell young, established players yet to hit their prime unless you're desperate for cash or someone is willing to grossly overpay. Money has never been an issue for the Blues, so unless Barcelona think their next Puyol is worth a lot more than £25 million, Chelsea should stay put.