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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."

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"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.