Despite the recent capture of Luis Suarez from Liverpool, Barcelona are far from done in the summer transfer window as new manager Luis Enrique looks to add even greater depth ahead of the start of next season.
One of the key areas of concern for the Catalan giants is in defence and the club's sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has confirmed a bid has been lodged for Valencia centre-back Jeremy Mathieu.
According to Miles Chambers on Goal.com, Valencia are asking for the 30-year-old's release clause of €20 million (£15.8 million) to be met, but Zubizarreta was not to be drawn on the value of the bid:
Valencia already know our offer and we want to maintain privacy in the negotiations. Of course we have other alternatives if this falls through. Hopefully by La Liga's start we have that centre-back position covered. If we wanted a centre-back before now, we would have signed one. We want someone who can put in top performances for many years and that's what we're working on.
At 30 years old, Mathieu will not provide a long-term solution to Barca's defensive worries and Ligue 1 journalist Jonathan Johnson is sceptical about the asking price, especially considering Mathieu is actually a converted left-back:
However, he has great experience of playing in La Liga having been at Valencia since 2009 and would be a short-term solution to the recent retirement of Barca veteran Carles Puyol which has left them short at the back.
According to David Boti in Sport, Valencia are refusing to let Mathieu go for lower than his release clause despite his age and the player's eagerness to leave:
Valencia refuse to listen to any of the offers that have been coming in from Barca, instead pointing to the French defender's €20million release clause. [...]
After five years of loyal service at the Mestalla - he arrived on a free in 2009 - Mathieu feels that he has earned the right to clinch a move to Barcelona.
While Enrique has made several astute signings this summer—along with Suarez, Croatian playmaker Ivan Rakitic has also been brought in—Barcelona will suffer next season if they do not bolster their defence.
The capture of Mathieu would be a boost in the short term but Enrique must also be looking to bring in a younger defender who can be a long-term replacement for Puyol.
One player who looks likely to be on his way out of the Camp Nou for next season is forward Bojan who is to be loaned out once again after spending last season at Ajax.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes is reportedly interested in bringing the 23-year-old to the Premier League but he will face competition from Deportivo de La Coruna, with coach Victor Fernandez confident of picking up the young Spaniard per La Voz de Galicia via Lucas Brown on Sky Sports:
I spoke to Bojan because I have a good personal relationship with him. He is not my player though and I do not like to talk about this, but I think he is great and fits perfectly the profile of player that we want. Here he could find enough space to explode into the definitive player.
Previously touted as the next Lionel Messi after dazzling as a teenager, Bojan has descended into relative obscurity but is an undoubted talent and could revitalise his career with a successful season.
However, he has been told that he is not part of Enrique's plans for next season and thus he will likely be shipped out to—if Fernandez's confidence is valid—Deportivo de La Coruna where he will no doubt get much more playing time to prove his pedigree.
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