Barcelona sign Jeremy Mathieu for £15.8m - then put £40m release clause on 30-year-old defender
Doubts raised as to whether the signing from Valencia is good value for money
In one of the more surprising transfer moves of the summer, Barcelona have shelled out £15.8m on Valencia’s Jérémy Mathieu – and put a £40m release clause on the player.
Mathieu spent five years at the Galician club, making 126 appearances mainly at left-back. He becomes the most expensive defender in history aged over 30.
The 30-year-old two-time French international becomes the Catalan giants’ fifth summer signing after Luis Suarez, Claudio Bravo, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Ivan Rakitic.
“FC Barcelona and València CF have reached agreement for the transfer of the French player, Jérémy Mathieu,” read a statement on the club’s website.
“Jérémy Mathieu will sign a contract with FC Barcelona for the next four seasons, plus an optional season more. The cost of the transfer is 20 million Euros and the buyout clause will be 50 million Euros.”
It is the size of the release clause rather than the scale of the fee that will surprise, given Mathieu’s advancing age and reputation as a solid, rarely exceptionally brilliant player.
One notable former Barcelona defender has been particularly quick to voice his doubts about the transfer. Speaking to RAC 1, Rafael Marquez said, "I don't think he (Mathieu) has the profile to play for Barcelona and even less so for this price."
Video: The latest transfer news
"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."
Mathieu began his professional career at Sochaux. A move to Toulouse followed before he began his Spanish odyssey in the summer of 2009.
Latest in Sport
Phil Jagielka: I may never win back England place, says Everton defender
Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
Rio Ferdinand mocks Jamie Carragher's Liverpudlian accent... but Liverpool man hits back at Londoner
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Just like Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United, Gareth Bale says he hopes to return to Tottenham 'one day'
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes