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Last summer, a move to Barcelona looked to be on for Javier Mascherano, but in the end, Liverpool held on to him. However, the longing to leave hasn’t passed, and it appears that Mascherano is now taking matters into his own hands.
According to the Daily Mail, the Argentine midfielder will submit a transfer request in order to force Liverpool to give in to his desires to leave the club for greener pastures, may it be his preferred destination of Barcelona or a reunion with Rafa Benitez at Inter Milan.
After last summer’s move that wasn‘t, Mascherano put aside his personal wishes for the cause and had yet another fine individual campaign in what was a disappointing season for the club.
However, it’s clear what he wants, and as much of a professional as he might be, and as much as he‘d give his all if he remained at Anfield, it‘s better for both parties to find a resolution as soon as possible without another drawn-out mess.
Mascherano admitted that missing out on his Barca move affected his mindset, and it’s safe to assume that the same thing could happen twofold if the situation plays out the same way again. As if there wasn’t already enough pressure on his shoulders, having to deal with unsettled and unhappy players is certainly the last thing Roy Hodgson would like to deal with when Liverpool, transitioning as they may be, can ill-afford a poor start to the new season.
But will he get his wish? It came out in the past week that Barcelona had to take out a loan to pay the players’ wages for last month, and even though that’s likely not something to panic about in the short or long term, you do have to wonder about their transfer budget.
Barcelona have already wrapped up the €40m purchase of David Villa, and the club looks to be stepping up its efforts to finally land Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas, who won’t come cheaply. Barca have raised nearly €50m with the sales of Yaya Toure and Dmytro Chygrynskiy, and a further €15m or so could be raised with the sales of defenders Rafa Marquez and Martin Caceres, who have both been linked with exits.
However, it would appear that they have to sell Zlatan Ibrahimovic to be able to seriously consider moves for both Fabregas and Mascherano. Manchester City have been heavily linked with Ibrahimovic, and any funds generated from that sale (and for that matter, offloading Ibrahimovic‘s wages as well) would make the double swoop all the more possible.
But if, for one reason or another, Barcelona are unable to make a move for Mascherano happen, Milan is just as suitable of a destination. Mascherano has a great relationship with Rafa Benitez, and there’s also a sizable Argentine contingent at Inter, so settling in won’t be a problem. Also, as much as Barcelona would be a natural fit for his family given the language situation, the amount of familiar faces in their new home would help his family be able to settle and fit in well in Milan.
Inter might not want to stump up what Liverpool might be looking for in a straight cash deal, but a cash plus player swap could be appealing to Roy Hogdson, so if Barcelona don’t move quickly, Rafa Benitez could waste no time in swooping in to do business with his former employers.
We’ll see how well Mascherano’s transfer request is received, but for the sake of both sides, it’s clear what needs to happen.