Jeremy Mathieu is proving to be a €20m bargain for Barcelona

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When Jeremy Mathieu signed for Barcelona, it's fair to suggest that a number of eyebrows were raised outside the club.

A player who was not a regular French international was clearly past his best at 30 years of age wasn't he?

Just three games into the La Liga season and how quickly the fickle Barcelona fan can change their minds.

Thirty he may be, but what Mathieu brings to the party is an air of authority and a sense of calm to Barca's back line.

In the space of 270 minutes the ex-Valencia man has gone from also-ran to main man.

Physical presence

A physical presence from your central defenders is a pre-requisite but it's something that Barca have sorely lacked for a while now.

Marc Bartra is still learning his craft and needs to be given time in the role and Javier Mascherano has been the square peg in the round hole for far too long now, despite his best efforts.

Gerard Pique, arguably the best defender of a generation when on his mettle, is bullied in the air far too easily.

Brains and brawn

So, Mathieu's strong-arm tactics will be well received by Luis Enrique and just about anyone else that that likes to see "old school" style defence.

What sets the Frenchman apart from his contemporaries however is that he uses brain as well as brawn.

No one trick pony this.

Against Athletic Bilbao we saw on multiple occasions the expansive nature of Mathieu's passing range.

With a leggy stride allowing him to ease out from the back and an appreciation of space and runs from team mates, Mathieu was able to deliver the ball with pinpoint accuracy on many occasions throughout.


One particular first-time crossfield pass to Ivan Rakitic was as good as anything seen at Camp Nou to date. It was exquisite.

Perhaps the best indication of how well Mathieu has settled into his new surroundings is that the talk now is of who will partner the Frenchman at the back. Seemingly his ongoing tenure in the position is secure.

Barca move key

The player himself is also willing to note the impact his move has had on his own chances with the national team per Le Parisien via "Obviously I am the same player who was at Valencia, but after five years there I could have some great games and it wouldn't have made any impact.

"Instead, after I arrived at Barcelona I had the feeling that people were not looking at me in the same way.

"Now I want to play some great games for Barca so I am selected for the next squad."

Ex-captain Carles Puyol, watching on from hig up in the Camp Nou stands, can't have failed to have been impressed by a player that has been cut from the same cloth as the shaggy-haired destroyer.

Continue in the same vein and the €20 million spend on Mathieu will soon look like small change for Barca's board.

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