Arsenal are reportedly prepared to spend €12m on Barcelona’s French defender Jeremy Mathieu in light of their current defensive crisis.
Spanish publication Don Balon have reported that Arsene Wenger is eyeing a move for Barcelona centre-back Jeremy Mathieu to strengthen his depleted defence. The report stated that the 4-3 loss to Liverpool in the season opener has sparked the Frenchman into action and that he is desperate to add a central defender to the squad, preferably before the Gunners’ next match away to champions Leicester City.
Don Balon claim that Jeremy Mathieu is available at around €12m and that the Arsenal manager could move for his compatriot as the negotiations for the deal to sign Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi continue to drag on.
Mathieu moved to Barcelona from fellow Liga outfit Valencia in the summer of 2014 and has since gone on to feature in 49 league matches over the course of the past two seasons. The 32-year-old started the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Sevilla, but the recent signing of fellow Frenchman Samuel Umtiti and the confirmation of Javier Mascherano’s new contract mean that the amount of playing time Mathieu receives this season will be limited.
The move would be beneficial for all the three parties involved — Arsenal, Barcelona and Jeremy Mathieu. Barcelona would be able to move the French international off the books while receiving a sizeable fee, while Mathieu will be able to move to a club who are able to offer him more playing time than what he would receive at the Nou Camp. Meanwhile, Arsenal would get an experienced central defender to lead the line in the absence of Gabriel Paulista and Per Mertesacker.
Mathieu is renowned for his contribution through key passes and is a ball-playing defender who would fit right into Wenger’s football philosophy. Arsene Wenger is desperate to add a central defender to the squad and has been linked with moves for Mustafi and Fabian Schar, while the likes of Omer Toprak and Simon Kjaer have been touted as possible alternatives should the club fail in their pursuit of their primary targets.