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Barcelona Defender List Grows: Mathieu, Rami, Mangala, Ivanovic Transfer Targets

Barca have continued to look for a new player to bolster their defense, but no one has emerged as a leading candidate. The search for a good stopper goes on.

Jeremy Mathieu battles for the ball with Cesc Fabregas.
Jeremy Mathieu battles for the ball with Cesc Fabregas.
David Ramos

Just a few days ago, we asked who was the preferred choice on the rumored list of transfer targets to help bolster Barcelona's defense. Chelsea's David Luiz led the poll with 58% of the vote, followed by Marquinhos of AS Roma (16%). The "someone else" option was third, with 8% of the vote.

Well, that "someone else" may be in the list of some new and some old but resurfacing targets that we'll look at today.

They include Valencia duo Jeremy Mathieu and Adil Rami, young Porto star Eliaquim Mangala, and Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, who is also rumored to be a packaged deal with Luiz.

Estimated values are from Be aware that the actual cost of the transfer is usually many times higher - transfer fees are inflated like never before.


Jeremy Mathieu (Valencia)

Estimated Value: 9m Euro

Age: 29

Height: 6'4''

Nationality: French

Positives: Quite fast for such a tall guy. Smart, makes interceptions often. Good at crosses. Can play left-back, and even left-wing or defensive midfield if asked. Knows La Liga well having played four seasons with Valencia. Already has a connection with Jordi Alba from their time playing on their left side.

Negatives: Not a great tackler. Still some improvement needed at short passing. Nearing 30. Primarily a left-back originally, though he's transitioned into a central defender - some concerned about another "converted' center-half.

Verdict: Mathieu made his name known to many Cules along with Jordi Alba playing for Valencia against Barcelona. In a 2-2 draw in 2011, Mathieu delivered two assists from the left wing. His height, position, and nationality makes some suggest he could be Eric Abidal's successor. He may not be such an exciting prospect, but he ticks all the boxes: fast, tall, relatively cheap, and with Champions League experience.


Adil Rami (Valencia)

Estimated Value: 12m Euro

Age: 27

Height: 6'3''

Nationality: French

Positives: Good in the air. Good dribbling for a defender. Good at both short and long passing. Strong and physical. Knows Jordi Alba from his time in Valencia and would be already familiar with Mathieu if the two were signed together.

Negatives: Guilty of lapses of concentration and individual errors. Still improving his tendency to accumulate too many cards.

Verdict: A strong personality, an energetic and powerful player. Rami has the tools to get it done, and his time in La Liga has been mostly a success. His cost may also be attractive as Valencia are missing out on the Champions League. His high motor can result in overexhuberance, however. Another key question is, why did Valencia concede so many goals last season (they were about in the middle of the pack in that department)? How much was that Mathieu and Rami's fault?


Eliaquim Mangala (FC Porto)

Estimated Value: 8.5m Euro

Age: 22

Height: 6'2''

Nationality: French

Positives: Good in the air. Fast. Can score goals. Lots of potential, quite young. Can play left-back.

Negatives: Inexperienced. Could improve passing. Cost could skyrocket if a bidding war takes place.

Verdict: Mangala is a hot property in Europe, with Manchester United and Chelsea already lining up for a chance to sign the young Frenchman. Barca are in this sense late to the party, but they may yet still crash it. Still, if a bidding war between Europe's best ensues, the final pricetag may be much larger than anticipated.


Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)

Estimated Value: 24m Euro

Age: 29

Height: 6'2''

Nationality: Serbian

Positives: Strong. Great in the air - can score. Tough tackler. Very good at protecting the ball and making good passes. Can play right-back. Extensive Champions League experience.

Negatives: Not the fastest. Chelsea are not hard up for cash and may want to keep him. Cost and age are issues.

Verdict: A tough player who could give Barca a bit of bite as well as some resistance to aerial balls. His speed is not optimal for right-back, especially for Barca, but at central defense that would be less of an issue. Still, some may prefer a faster player. Would be a good pickup, but Chelsea would probably hold onto him unless new coach Jose Mourinho does not trust him for some reason.


Another player who perhaps is not on Barca's radar, but we've discussed recently is Roma's Daniele De Rossi. Click here to read Arron's breakdown of a possible transfer. I won't go into further detail, but he will be an option for the poll.

So, tell us, of the potential targets that Barca is rumored to be looking at, who is your favorite? The top two vote-getters from the previous poll, Luiz and Marquinhos, will be options in the poll.

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