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Mathieu joins Barca for €20m

Updated: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 12:22 | Comments

Jeremy Mathieu is now a Barca player
Jeremy Mathieu is now a Barca player

Valencia's French defender Jeremy Mathieu will join Barcelona for a fee of €20m, the Catalan club said on Wednesday.
              
"Mathieu will sign a contract with FC Barcelona for the next four seasons plus a further optional," Barca said in a statement.
              
"The cost of the transfer is €20m and the buy-out clause will be €50m."   

Mathieu travelled with the Valencia squad to Madrid as a stop off on their way to Peru as part of their pre-season tour, but will now travel to Barcelona to sign his contract with the Catalans and join Luis Enrique's side for pre-season training.

The Frenchman came through the ranks at Ligue 1 side Sochaux, making his professional debut in 2002 and eventually moved to fellow French side Toulouse in 2005.

Four years later he swapped France for Spain to join Valencia, where he alternated between the left-back spot and centre-half, excelling in the latter position last season once Juan Antonio Pizzi took charge.

Although Mathieu will be able to deputise for Alba, he is likely to also play as centre-back and cover for the loss of captain Carles Puyol, who retired from football at the end of last season.

Mathieu is the first central defender Barca have signed since Dmitro Chigrinski, who joined the club from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2009 for €25m only to return to the Ukranian side a year later following an unsuccessful stay at the Nou Camp.

The signing of 30-year-old Mathieu, who has two international caps with France, has attracted criticism from former Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez, who told Catalan radio station RAC1: "I don't think he has the profile to play for Barcelona and even less so for this price."

However, Barca midfielder Rafinha Alcantara welcomed the signing of Mathieu, telling a press conference on Wednesday: "Mathieu is a complete defender, with incredible speed. He's a great centre-back."

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