Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu is the latest player to find himself linked with a move to Manchester United this summer, with sources in Spain claiming that he has fallen out with Lionel Messi.
At least that’s the latest rumours circulated by the Daily Express, who claim that Barcelona are keen to offload the Frenchman despite the fact that they are in the middle of a year-long transfer ban.
It wouldn’t be the first time the Catalan giants have dispensed of a player due to a bust-up with Messi, but in this case we have to admit it doesn’t make much sense, even though Mathieu himself has confirmed the dispute did take place.
"It happened when we returned from our holidays. All of a sudden Leo lost his composure in training after being on the receiving end of a foul that wasn't called.
"The situation got pretty tense and a few harsh words were exchanged", he said.
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"The situation got pretty tense and a few harsh words were exchanged"
A move for Mathieu
Having only arrived at the Nou Camp from Valencia last summer, Mathieu has been a relatively important member of Barcelona’s first-team squad, and has notched up 15 appearances in La Liga. His versatility means he is also adept at left-back, adding another reason to the list of criteria as to why Luis Enrique would be unwise to push him out of the fray.
Yet regardless of the rights and wrongs of the potential sale, Louis van Gaal is said to be keen to make the situation work to his benefit. The Dutchman has been linked with a number of experienced centre-backs since taking the Old Trafford reigns, and having opted not to sign anyone in January, the summer transfer window is certain to be the time when he finally acts.
Other names such as Mats Hummels and Benedikt Howedes have been mentioned in connection with the Red Devils, but if Barca are eager to get Mathieu off the books he might be a cheaper option.
It’s hard to believe given the circumstances, but the Blaugrana have never been ones to retain a player when he’s no longer wanted. Just ask Zlatan Ibrahimovic.