Speculation has increased that Roma defender Marquinhos could be on his way to Barcelona, according to Sky Sports.
The signing of a central defender has been a priority for the Catalans this summer, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Thiago Silva first choice, yet the difficulties of bringing the Brazilian international to the Camp Nou means boss Tito Vilanova now has his eyes on a much more feasible option.
Marquinhos [pictured, left] is aged just 19, although he is already a regular in the Roma side having featured in 26 Serie A games last season, and his price is understood to be between €20m and €25m, a not very affordable price one for the Spanish giants.
However, the high transfer fee would be offset by an annual salary that is much less than that demanded by Thiago Silva.
The player himself is believed to be keen on the move and the first hint he could be wearing a Barca shirt next term came when he was absent from Roma’s pre-season preparations in Brunico. He also missed the presentation of the club’s new shirts, with his agent apologising and claiming he had a ‘fever’.
Roma are not eager to lose one of the mainstays of their defence, but Marquinhos’ alleged acts of rebellion may tip the balance in Barca’s favour.