Just when things were looking straight forward for Barcelona in their bid to sign Chelsea defender David Luiz, Gerardo Martino’s resignation reportedly put a dent in the deal.
The Brazilian press Lancenet reported that Barcelona and Chelsea were in negotiations for the 27-year-old, and they hinted that a big-money deal was likely to be completed after the world cup.
The situation changed, however, when Luis Enrique was appointed as new boss this week, as the former Celta Vigo manager soon named Valencia defender Jeremy Mathieu and not Brazilian star David Luiz as his number one defensive priority this summer.
The French international has enjoyed a solid campaign at the Mestalla, and his height, experience and ability to lead the back-line was what promted Luis Enrique to name him as his ideal Carles Puyol replacement.
Despite Luis Enrique’s public desire to sign 29-year-old Jeremy Mathieu, Valencia boss Juan Antonio Pizzi has issued a firm hands-off warning and reminded the Catalans that the €20m rated star is happy at the club.
“We need him and he is very happy here. I think that he has performed to his highest standard this season, and he is the highest performing defender in La Liga.” He said, quoted by Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo.
Jeremy Mathieu also spoke about his future in a separate interview, and reminded the Spanish press that his thoughts are firmly with his current club Valencia, saying: “I have a contract with Valencia and I am 100% focused here.”
Valencia’s stance with Mathieu could ultimately force Barcelona to go all-out for the signing of Chelsea star David Luiz, though they may find competition for his services for Paris Saint-German.
The Blues defender hasn’t featured all too regularly under Mourinho, starting just 15 Premier League games all season as he found himself behind regular centre-back pairing Gary Cahill and John Terry in the pecking order.
With Chelsea reportedly open to selling the former Benfica man, Barcelona would be imprudent to let such an opportunity pass for a potentially vital figure in the team.