Sometimes it’s difficult to understand how some teams spend so much money on a completely ordinary, but here it is: Barcelona lay their hopes on fixing their defensive problems by the addition of Jeremy Mathieu for an incredible price considering his ability and age, even though everyone knows it’s not enough.
Mathieu cost Barcelona €20 million. He is 30, who can play centre back, left back and defensive midfielder. He has good technique compared with most central defenders, just like Barcelona like it. He also answers another problem the side has struggled with for a few years: He’s tall, 6’3, and can actually help on both ends of the pitch when it comes to set pieces. Are Barcelona changing that much?
Still, it’s not enough. And it also shows the tradition of teams to overspend just because of their name. Barcelona seem to have distances themselves this summer from a road of patience and of developing from within. They’re spending like there’s no tomorrow. If Barcelona have drifted from the ‘mes que un club’ motto in recent years, this season if the final nail in the coffin of that pretentiousness.
This might mean more spending. Barcelona actually sold players for quite a lot of money this summer, getting rid of Cesc Fabregas and sending off Alexis Sanchez, both to the Premier League. Javier Mascherano is a great defensive midfielder, but not a centre back. Gerard Pique seems to be heading in the wrong direction with his career. Bartra still isn’t good enough to be relied upon for a team that’s going after everything.
This means more signings. Mats Hummels? Marquinhos? Maybe Daniel Agger, who every summer seems to be in the rumor mill despite everything he and Liverpool say?
Maybe in the end it won’t matter. A decent enough defense with the additions of Ivan Rakitic and Luis Suarez could ignore the serviceable addition to their defense. It’s always been about how well Barcelona press and defend with their attacking players and not the quality of their back four, right? Defending is about more than the goalkeeper and his defenders.