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Barcelona and PSG in tug of war over Chelsea’s David Luiz

Dispatches from France claim Ligue 1 leaders PSG have joined the race to sign Chelsea’s Brazilian defender David Luiz.

The 26-year-old centre back, who can also play in midfield, has long been rumoured to be a target for Spanish La Liga table-toppers Barcelona. Laurent Blanc’s Parisians are willing to match the reported £20.5m valuation that Barca rate Luiz at, however.

Luiz, who has 33 caps, arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2011 from Benfica in a reported £20m plus Nemanja Matic deal. Chelsea have since brought Serbia midfielder Matic back to west London.

Jose Mourinho’s men are 6/4 second favourites to win the Premier League – which they currently lead – behind Manchester City, who they travel to in the FA Cup fifth round.

Luiz is set to play in this fixture and be partnered by Branislav Ivanovic because of injuries to first-choice centre back pair Gary Cahill and John Terry. The Blues are 23/10 to win at the Etihad for the second time in February.

When both Cahill and Terry are fit, however, Luiz has often found himself on the bench this season. The return of Matic has also limited his opportunities to play in front of the back four.

PSG, who extended their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to eight points by beating Valenciennes, have a strong Brazilian contingent at the Parc des Princes.

Luiz’s international defensive colleagues Thiago Silva, Maxwell and young Marquinhos are joined by ex-Chelsea player Alex and attacking midfielder Lucas Moura in Paris.

As Alex is out of contract in Paris this summer and linked with joining Clarence Seedorf’s AC Milan, Blanc will need a replacement. Luiz could be persuaded to make his partnership with Silva for club as well as country after the World Cup.

Should Luiz be tempted to throw his lot in with Barcelona, he would join compatriots Adriano Correia, Dani Alves and current Brazilian football poster boy Neymar.