Barcelona to step up £30m pursuit of Chelsea star


Barcelona are set to step up their efforts to sign a new defender in the next few days with Liverpool's Daniel Agger and Chelsea's David Luiz now top of their list, according to talkSPORT.

Valencia defender Jeremy Mathieu has confirmed his intention to stay with the La Liga club. The £6.5m-rated had been linked with Barcelona as cover at centre-back but they will now have to look elsewhere.

Mathieu, a French international, quashed speculation linking him with a move in an interview with L'Equipe earlier this week.

Mathieu said: "It is all arranged. I will renew [my contract] until June 2017 with the club and we just need to sign the document.

"I want to prove that I still have chances to play with the French national team.

"This is the last challenge of my career."

Barcelona will instead turn their attentions to two Premier League centre-backs - Agger and Luiz.

The Chelsea man has been linked with a Stamford Bridge exit ever since Jose Mourinho took charge for a second time. 

Speculation has mounted that the Brazilian will be deemed surplus to requirements, with Barcelona reportedly monitoring his availability. Luiz is hugely popular at Stamford Bridge though.

The report claims Mourinho is looking to rebuild the Chelsea squad before the start of the new season, with the Brazil defender a possible casualty.

Tito Vilanova has prioritised the signing of a new centre-back this summer, after injuries to Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique left them short at times last term. And the report suggests he's stepping up his bid to bring a top class name to the Nou Camp.

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