Update from Thursday, July 24
Jeremy Mathieu passed his Barcelona medical on Thursday, announced by the club's official website.
His transfer from Valencia will be sealed later in the day, according to the following statement:
Jérémy Mathieu passed his routine medical and effort tests this morning, which means he is clear to sign his contract with FC Barcelona later on in the day.
Now that the tests have been completed, Jérémy Mathieu is free to sign his new contract this afternoon, after which he’ll be appearing in a press conference.
Later Barcelona shared a photo of Mathieu signing his contract with the club:
Barcelona have confirmed the signing of Valencia defender Jeremy Mathieu as new boss Luis Enrique looks to revamp his squad.
The club broke the news of the new arrival on Wednesday morning via its official Twitter account:
Barcelona also confirmed the fee for the player on their website, agreeing to a €20 million deal for the 30-year-old.
The Frenchman had prepared the press for his move to Barca on Tuesday when he was quoted by Superdeporte, saying (via David Kent of the Daily Mail):
"My transfer to Barcelona could be announced this afternoon? I'm hopeful."
Mathieu will bring vital competition at the heart of the Barcelona defence and challenge both Gerard Pique and Marc Bartra for a starting berth.
But former Barca defender Rafael Marquez has professed that he believes Mathieu is not good enough for the Catalan team. He said to RAC1 (via Stefan Coerts of Goal.com):
I don't think he has the profile to play for Barcelona and even less so for this price. Hopefully they'll think well about this and if they're going to splash out like that, it's for someone who is actually worthwhile.
The player made 32 starts for his club last season in La Liga, per WhoScored.com, proving his domestic experience and capabilities. But he was also vital in Valencia's Europa League campaign, which saw the team progress to the later rounds.
This is the first time for a while that we could see wholesale changes at Barca as they look to play catch-up with both Madrid clubs. Mathieu is a player who will add some steel and experience to the back line and allow Enrique to have a solid platform tactically.
The arrival of Mathieu will also allow Javier Mascherano to move back into the midfield after being tied down defensively in recent times.
Mascherano had a fine World Cup at the heart of Argentina's midfield this summer, and it is likely he will be used this coming season in a similar role.