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Barcelona bids 25 million euros for David Luiz

The Catalans have been in the market for a long-term replacement to captain Carles Puyol and have set their sights on Chelsea's center back

Barcelona has stepped up its search for a new center back by making a 25 million-euro bid for Chelsea defender David Luiz.

Barca set its sights on Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva earlier this summer as a long-term replacement for captain Carles Puyol, but has been frustrated in its attempts to sign the Brazil captain. The Blaugrana also missed out on his international teammate Marquinhos, who joined PSG from Roma in July for 35 million euros.

Sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta then turned his attentions to another Brazilian as Barca looked set to bid for Luiz late last month, but all transfer plans were placed on hold as coach Tito Vilanova departed to continue his cancer treatment and new man Gerardo Martino was installed at Camp Nou.

Martino has said he is happy with Barca's current squad, but Puyol is still several weeks away from full fitness and has been plagued by knee problems over the last two years.

Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho has claimed that Luiz - who is currently sidelined with a hamstring problem - is not for sale, but Barca has opened the bidding for the Brazilian at 25 million euros and sent club representative Raul Sanllehi to London in order to negotiate a deal.

Barca has also dispatched a delegate to Liverpool for talks over the possible signing of defender Daniel Agger and, according to the Danish press, the Blaugrana are ready to offer 20 million euros for the 28-year-old center back.

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