Barcelona look set to face some serious competition for the signing of Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus as new boss Luis Enrique makes plans for his reign as manager.
The La Liga giants are reportedly very interested in signing the German international, although according to Bild (h/t Toni Juanmarti in Sport), they are set to wait until the end of the upcoming season to make their move, as Reus' buyout clause will then be €35 million.
However, it seems they may be pipped to the move, with various Premier League clubs reportedly interested in signing up the 25-year-old star.
Manchester United and Liverpool are both understood to be lining up bids for the 25-year-old this summer, with reports claiming £50m will be enough to prize Reus away from his boyhood club.
Although Dortmund have consistently denied any reports that they could sell one of their prized assets, a big offer may well be tempting considering the upcoming activation of his relatively low buyout clause.
The player's agent Dirk Hebel recently expressed his lack of surprise at the constant rumours surrounding his charge, per Bild (via Vaishali Bhardwaj in Metro):
Marco would make any big European team stronger. That’s why it’s completely normal that a number of these major European teams are interested in signing him.
While Hebel's comments are not an indication that Reus will indeed move, he is certainly correct in talking up Reus' talent, he scored 16 goals and claimed 13 assists in the Bundesliga last season.
With stats like that, it is unsurprising that he is being courted by a whole swathe of Europe's top clubs and Barcelona may have to get in the game earlier than they wanted to if they wish to sign him up.
Elsewhere, Enrique is reportedly set to strengthen Barcelona's weak defence with the signing of Liverpool's Daniel Agger as the Catalan outfit bid to regain the La Liga title after a trophy-less season in 2013-14.
According to beIN Sports' Tancredi Palmeri, negotiations for the Danish centre-back are very much in progress:
Liverpool's Agger has reached an agreement on personal terms with Barcelona— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) July 30, 2014
However, according to Simon Jones in the Daily Mail, Barca could face stiff competition from Brondby for Agger's signature:
The 29-year-old's future is unclear after [Dejan] Lovren's £20million signing and the Danish club hope they can lure the central defender back to the club he grew up at, with their major shareholder saying they will do 'everything in our power' to sign him.
Despite the recent signing of Jeremy Mathieu, Barcelona are still worryingly short of depth in central defence.
Their pursuit of Agger seemingly stems from their recent failure to sign PSG's Marquinhos, Brazil’s Globoesporte reporting (via Tom Conn on Inside Spanish Football) that the French champions rejected a €43 million bid for the 20-year-old.
However, there are big question marks surrounding whether the likes of Agger and Mathieu possess the requisite talent to fix what is currently a weak Barca defence, per football journalist Rafael Hernandez:
Agger's a fantastic person, but he's not the football player Barcelona needs.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) July 26, 2014
Enrique needs to focus on signing true quality at the back if Barca are to avoid another lean season in trophy terms.
While Reus is a fantastic player, he is not an essential purchase, as the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez already represent a stunning attacking unit.
What is most important for Barcelona at the moment is a strengthened back line and while Agger would certainly be a decent squad player, Enrique must look to sign a truly world-class centre-back.