Barcelona step up pursuit of Marquinhos

The Blaugrana are hoping to bring the Brazilian teenager to Camp Nou as they look to bolster their defence but Roma are holding out for a €30 million fee
By Wayne Veysey

Barcelona are preparing an improved offer for Roma defender Marquinhos.

The Spanish champions have already had a €20 million bid rejected for the Brazilian teenager, who is regarded as one of the most promising centre-backs in world football.

It is understood that Roma have placed a €30m price tag on the player they bought from Corinthians 12 months ago.

And Barca are now ready to up their offer for Marquinhos as they step up plans to reinforce their back four.

The Catalan club are in the market for a new centre-back who can provide competition for Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique after releasing Eric Abidal.

As reported by Goal, Barcelona have made an enquiry for Arsenal's highly rated centre-half Laurent Koscielny.

They have moved for Marquinhos following his excellent debut campaign in Serie A, with Barca scouts confident the 19-year-old will be comfortable with their fluid playing style.

It has been reported in Italy that the Spanish giants could offer cash plus a player in part-exchange for Marquinhos. One possibility is Alexis Sanchez, while another name that has been mentioned is Martin Montoya.

"These rumours are flattering, but he still has a four-year contract with Roma," his agent Roberto Calenda last week told Radio Sportiva.

Barcelona have also been linked with another Brazilian defender, Thiago Silva, and club officials reportedly flew to South America to watch the Paris Saint-Germain player during the Confederations Cup.