Everyone has been waiting for Barcelona to make a signing that adds to their defense. The latest bits of new and rumors running around seem to point in the direction of Valencia centre back Jérémy Mathieu, not exactly a name that makes fans feel excited.
Is Jérémy Mathieu the answer to Barca’s problems in the back four? Defense is never just about the defenders and the goalkeeper. Some might say that Barcleona’s biggest problem has been the declining quality up front and the ability of forward players to create pressure on their opponents. That is true as well. However, it’s hard to argue about the fact that new blood and more quality is needed in the Barcelona defense.
Mathieu has been with Valencia since 2009. He started out as a left back but with many full backs that age, the move towards centre back was natural. A tall and technical defender. Mathieu fits the mold of a defender who knows what to do with the ball, but he isn’t exactly the quickest of players, another area that Barcelona have been lacking in recently.
He played 32 matches last season for Valencia, and has a total of 126 league matches for the club. He has scored 6 goals, adding 11 assists, in the four seasons he’s there. For those looking for some international swagger and reputation, he has appeared only twice for the national team and at the age of 31, one can expect his international career to be as good as over.
If Mathieu signs, and Valencia are asking for €20 million so it’s a very big maybe right now, it’s hard to believe Barcelona will be counting on him to lead their defense. Right now, this seems as a depth adding signing, with Pique and possibly Bartra, unless more signings are lined up, destined to be the starters.
Barcelona have already spent €123 million on new players this summer: Ter Stegen, Claudo Bravo, Ivan Rakitic and Luis Suarez coming in, but they can’t afford to another offseason without any significant additions to their defensive line.