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Barcelona Transfer News: Jeremy Mathieu Bid Shows Misjudgment in Priorities

Valencia's Jeremy Mathieu from France, looks toward the ground after failing to score against  against Swansea City during their Europa  League Group A soccer match at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia, Spain, Thursday , Sept. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)
Alberto Saiz/Associated Press
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2014

When it comes to the summer market, the Camp Nou will always be an intriguing epicentre of transfer business, but for some time now the club have gone about neglecting their defensive needs in pursuit of more adventurous ploys.

That vein of thought would appear to be alive and well with the news that Luis Enrique's side intend on chasing Valencia's Jeremy Mathieu this summer, according to Sky Sports.

In that report, the Frenchman is quoted in releasing a statement via French agency EFE pleading for a move to Catalan country, although Inside Spanish Football says Valencia won't budge on their €20 million price tag:

I want to make clear that there isn't any moment in which my intentions are to get into a confrontation with Valencia CF, because of the love and respect I have for this club and its magnificent fans. I've played here for five years and I can only thank this club for their trust and support towards me all these years.

I wish this statement is not interpreted as a way of forcing a situation that leads to my exit. It's simply a way of telling the truth about my situation and to stop feeding any rumours and speculations.

[...]

Valencia CF will always be in my heart, and I would really like to finish this chapter in a positive way, because I certainly don't want to lose all the respect I learned to have for this amazing club.

Granted, inflated prices can misconstrue matters in today's market, leaving one with over-the-odds fees often being attached to players undeserving of such sums.

Having said that, £15 million for a 30-year-old left-back-cum-central defender who's very arguably past his prime isn't the kind of revolutionary approach Enrique may look to instill during his first season in charge.

VALENCIA, SPAIN - MAY 01:  Jeremy Mathieu of Valencia CF sits dejected on the pitch after Stephane Mbia of Sevilla scored his team's first goal during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final second leg match between Valencia CF and Sevilla FC at Estadi de Mesta
David Ramos/Getty Images

Mathieu has been a solid asset on Valencia's scale, admittedly, helping the club go far in last season's Europa League campaign, but ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson agrees the figures just don't add up in this case:

After all, this is a club whose defence is now in as much need of surefire solutions as ever; for the first time since 1999, La Blaugrana will begin a campaign without Carles Puyol's talents.

Meanwhile, Marc Andre ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo may well take their time in adjusting to the goalkeeper setting in Catalan country, vacated by Victor Valdes and Jose Manuel Pinto.

Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic's captures have shored up the team's attacking and playmaking ranks, of course, but once again it's the defence that goes malnourished, with Barca insisting on directing their attentions elsewhere.

This approach seems especially illogical when one considers it was Atletico Madrid's fine example in defence, set by such astute figures as Joao Miranda, Diego Godin, Juanfran and Filipe Luis, that won them La Liga.

Back in March, ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan supposed, albeit incorrectly on Real's part, that the Spanish giants wouldn't triumph in Europe as a result of their poor back lines:

For the second summer in a row, restocking the offensive front has become first order at Barca, and after the big-money order of Neymar in 2013, 2014 has brought about the £75 million arrival of Suarez.

Instead, it's a more elite standard of defender that's needed. Several acquisitions made in order to ensure the likes of academy products Martin Montoya and Marc Bartra don't get lumped with an unfair amount of expectation.

Miguel Angel Morenatti/Associated Press

It's fair that Spain may not require such defensive numbers as is needed in other pockets of the continent, but to neglect this part of the squad as Barcelona have insisted on doing for so long now is folly.

Insanity is defined as repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results, and in that trail of thought, Mathieu's purchase would be little more than the very shortest of short-term solutions.

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