Barcelona have made an official bid for Chelsea defender David Luiz, according to reports.
The Blues look set to reject the offer, which is thought to be in the region of £35m, as they look to hold on to the Brazilian central defender.
The Catalan club have been interested in Luiz throughout the summer, with their interest intensifying after their prime target Thiago Silva signed a new long-term contract with his current club Paris Saint-Germain.
The 26-year-old will miss Chelsea’s International Champions Cup final against Real Madrid later today, with the club confirming that he trained away from the rest of the squad with a suspected hamstring injury.
They put on their official Twitter account: “While the other lads trained, @DavidLuiz-4 completed his own workout. He won't play against Real tomorrow.”
Luiz only returned from an extended break for the start of their US tour, having missed their tour of Asia due to his participation in the Confederations Cup with his national side.
Barcelona’s football director Raul Sanilehi flew to London on Tuesday to begin negotiations in the La Liga champions attempt to sign the centre-back.
Although Luiz is settled in London and enjoying his football at Stamford Bridge, Barcelona believe he would not turn down a move to play for the Spanish giants, and they want to bring in the defender to reduce their own concerns over their strength in depth at the back.
They have fears over the long-term fitness of club captain Carlos Puyol, while both Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano missed spells during last season due to both injury and suspension. Young centre-back Marc Muniesa was allowed to leave the club as he joined Stoke on a free transfer, meaning they are left with just Marc Bartra as cover for the new campaign.
Luiz joined the Blues for £21m in 2011 from Portuguese club Benfica, but manager Jose Mourinho has insisted that he does not want to sell him, claiming there was “no chance” either he or Juan Mata would leave the club.
“David has come back with us fantastically and we have to use his quality,” said Mourinho when speaking just after Luiz returned to the squad.
“He has big self-confidence and self-esteem, especially when he comes up from the back with the ball.
“Can he improve defensively? Of course. But it is my job to try always to improve players.”
Neither Barcelona or Chelsea have confirmed the offer.