Barcelona sign French defender Jeremy Mathieu for $27 million


Barcelona have completed the signing of French defender Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia, as new boss Luis Enrique continues to stamp his mark on the Catalan club.

Mathieu, 30, is a towering left back or central defender who has played for Valencia since 2009 and he will add a solid core at the back for the Blaugrana. He will be unveiled on Thursday at the Nou Camp.

On paper, this seems like a strange signing but Enrique is moving fast to address his needs.

How many times over the past five, six seasons have we seen Barcelona dominate teams, then come undone to their Achilles heel of failing to defend set pieces or one hopeful cross being knocked home by the opposition? Plenty, is the answer.

Mathieu is known for his aerial dominance and alongside Gerard Pique in the back four, the two will provide Barca with a sensationally solid platform to build off. It would seem as though Mathieu will line up alongside Pique in central defense with Jordi Alba at left back and Dani Alves at right back, as Enrique prefers to go with a fluid 4-3-3 formation in line with Barca’s soccer philosophy.

We know Barcelona possess wonderful attacking talents in Lionel Messi, Neymar and know Luis Suarez, but it is good to see them make more pragmatic and sensible signings. That bodes well for Enrique’s first season in charge as the former Barca midfielder continues to build his own squad primed for success after a trophyless 2013-14 campaign for former Barcelona gaffer Gerardo Martino.