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Barcelona defender edges closer to Lisbon switch

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FC Barcelona have given 33-year-old defender Jeremy Mathieu permission to train with Sporting Lisbon, opening the way for a possible move to the Portuguese club.

The former Valencia player, who joined Barcelona in 2014, still has a season left on his contract, but the club would probably allow him to move on a free transfer to open up a further place in their first team squad.

"FC Barcelona has granted permission for defender Jeremy Mathieu to train on a trial basis during his holidays with Sporting Club de Portugal... Once this period is over, the two clubs and the Frenchman will make a decision on the player's future," the club said on Saturday.

Mathieu has made over 90 appearances for Barcelona in central defence and at left back, but has never been first choice, playing either as a substitute or when Gerard Pique or Javier Mascherano have been injured.