FC Barcelona said it will sign defender Jeremy Mathieu to a four-year deal after reaching an agreement with Valencia CF for the French player’s transfer.
Barcelona paid Valencia 20 million euros ($27 million) for the transfer and will have the option of extending Mathieu’s contract for a fifth season, the club said Wednesday on its Web site.
The 30-year-old French defender, whose buyout clause has been set at 50 million euros ($67.3 million), is the fifth player the Spanish-league powerhouse has signed this offseason after German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Chilean net minder Claudio Bravo, Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic and Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez.
Mathieu played for Valencia for five seasons, appeared in 176 matches and scored seven goals.
At nearly 6-foot-3, he is strong in the air and is also known for his technical skill and positioning.
Barcelona had sought in vain for years to improve its depth at center back, a position manned by 27-year-old Spaniard Gerard Pique, and Valencia took advantage of that pressing need to secure a big sum for the player.
With this latest transaction, Barça has paid out 145 million euros this offseason in transfer fees - including 81 million euros for Suarez - and received 84.5 million euros, with the sale of Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas to Arsenal and Chelsea, respectively, accounting for the lion’s share of that total.
Barcelona may still incorporate one more player, with Colombian international winger Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, who currently plays for Italian club Fiorentina, reportedly at the top of the team’s wish list.