Barcelona signs unheralded French defender

Spanish giants Barcelona have confirmed the signing of 30-year-old French defender Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia for 20 million euros (S$33.4 million) on Wednesday (July 24).

Barcelona have been seeking to bolster their defence since Carlos Puyol ended his career last season. 

Spanish newspaper Marca reported that the last defender Barcelona signed was Dmytro Chygrynskiy from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2009. 

That signing proved to be somewhat of a disaster as he lasted only one season and was sold back to Shakhtar Donetsk in 2010.

Though he only has two caps for France, Mathieu is recognised as a powerful operator at left back and in central defence. Barcelona called him a “physically imposing defender”.

The Catalan club made several offers to Valencia for Mathieu, who last week issued a public letter calling on the side to negotiate his release.

“I have a chance to play for the world’s biggest club and that’s all I want right now,” he said.

Barcelona said in a statement it had reached agreement on a transfer and Mathieu would sign a four season contract.

Mathieu played at Sochaux and Toulouse in the French first division until he joined Valencia in 2009.

Source: Reuters, BBC