Barcelona are 5.00 to win the Champions League – yet they have yet to make a move for a new centre-back, a position within their side that needs significant strengthening.
With the right purchase though, that price could look massive later this season.
Coach Tito Vilanova revealed at the start of the summer that a world-class defender was top of his shopping list; however so far, he’s gone chasing sexy attacking options.
Brazilian whizz-kid Neymar completed his move from Santos to Barcelona in June as Vilanova has found it tough going in trying to prize defender targets away from their respective clubs.
For the past couple of seasons, Barça’s weak link has been the lack of depth to their central defensive partnership. This was especially apparent in last season’s Champions League.
Bayern Munich ran out 7-0 aggregate winners in the semi-final and had little trouble finding their way through against Marc Bartra, who was charged with replacing the injured Carlos Puyol.
The Spain international is coming to the end of his career, triggering calls for Vilanova to bring in a long-term replacement.
It’s a tough old slog though, finding a player of the required talent that is within their reach. To fit into the Barça style, you need to be physically domineering whilst also possessing the elegance and ball skills to bring the ball out from the back.
With a very limited pool of players to choose from, the clear standout currently in world football in this instance has to be David Luiz.
If reports are to be believed, Chelsea rebuffed an offer of £35 million from Barcelona for the fuzzy haired customer earlier this week, but Barça are determined to get their man and are reportedly planning a £40m raid this week.
Luiz has the game that could help create and stabilize a solid defensive partnership with Gerard Pique.
He has progressed greatly since famously being described as “being controlled by a 10-year-old on a PlayStation” by Gary Neville and with his heart set on a move away from London, Barça should get their man.