Prior to recent events, it had looked like Liverpool would enter the 2016-17 season with a fairly solid and experienced trio of Joël Matip, Dejan Lovren, and Mamadou Sakho to draw from at the centreback position, with Joe Gomez available as an up-and-coming deputy. Then came news that Sakho (whose WADA-related issues refuse to go quietly into the night), and more recently Gomez, would be sidelined for Liverpool's tricky opening fixtures due to injury.
That situation leaves just Tiago Ilori and Andre Wisdom - neither of whom was really expected to stick around - as backup options should something happen to Matip or Lovren. Not exactly a great state of affairs given the opponents Liverpool will face in the early going. And thus, somewhat reluctantly perhaps, manager Jürgen Klopp may be forced to enter the transfer market in search of central defensive depth.
According to a correspondent for Le Parisien, Klopp and Liverpool are considering enlisting reinforcements from our old pals Barcelona. Not Thomas Vermaelen - though that was a name that was oddly linked to Liverpool earlier in the summer - but rather experienced backup Jérémy Mathieu, who joined Barcelona from Valencia in 2014.
At 32 years of age, but with a wealth of high-level experience, Mathieu certainly fits the bill as a Kolo Touré-type signing. Namely, someone who won't expect to be a regular starter, nor who is looking for a long-term commitment. With Samuel Umtiti (who replaced Mathieu in France's Euro 2016 squad when the former had to withdraw due to injury) having joined Barcelona, Mathieu's prospects for playing time will have taken a further hit.
While his name may not be familiar to casual La Liga observers, Mathieu did make 34 appearances across all competitions for the blaugrana in 2015-2016, mostly at centreback but also filling in for Jordi Alba at fullback on certain occasions. While not exactly a cult hero, he does have his strengths. He's quicker than you might expect for someone at 6'3" (just north of 1.90 meters depending on whom you ask), and he performed more than capably when called on as a halftime substitute - after Javier Mascherano got himself sent off - in Barcelona's Copa Del Rey final against Sevilla.
As rumors go, this is one of the more plausible ones, especially given recent unfortunate events in Liverpool's central defence. Whether or not there's anything to it remains to be seen, given that the various reports flying around are all based on the same unsubstantiated source, and also bearing in mind that this may all be gamesmanship in negotiations with Besiktas, who are also rumored to be interested. Time will tell if Mathieu will soon be telling Liverpool supporters that there is no need to be upset.