Real Madrid and Barcelona are considering a move for Chelsea defender David Luiz.
The Brazilian could become an early casualty of incoming boss Jose Mourinho who has concerns about the 26-year-old’s defensive abilities.
Luiz cost Chelsea £21million and they will look to make a profit on their 2011 outlay should the interest turn into hardened bids.
Mourinho wants a new centre-back, a defensive midfielder and at least one striker for his return to Stamford Bridge. Luiz has re-invented himself as a defensive midfielder under Rafa Benitez but remains prone to errors when in defence.
Chelsea have shown interest in Liverpool target Krygiakos Papadopoulos of Schalke but considered the 21-year-old too expensive. Mourinho is a big fan of Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane also but that would prove complicated considering the politics behind Mourinho’s departure from the Bernabeu.
Yet, they are intent on improving their defensive options with Branislav Ivanovic also likely to revert to right-back.
Madrid will overhaul Mourinho’s squad for Carlo Ancelotti. They would rather sell defender Pepe than Varane with Manchester City being offered the chance to sign the Portugal international for £20m.
For their part, Barcelona are struggling to find a centre-back that fits their budget and will be looking to strike a deal for around £25m. Luiz has been on their list for some time but not at the top.
They wanted Thiago Silva from Paris St Germain but he is too expensive while Manchester City are reluctant to sell Vincent Kompany. Barca have also considered Roma’s teenage defender Marquinhos but he may yet stay another season in Italy.
Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen could yet come back into their reckoning but his indifferent end of season form means Luiz is preferred.