The situation regarding Javier Mascherano’s future at Liverpool is one that has been simmering for some time given the links with Barcelona last summer. With contract talks having stalled before the World Cup, debate surrounding his future was always likely to ignite during the close season.
Rafael Benitez’s summer exit to Inter Milan, it appears, has turned Mascherano’s head, a manager with whom he had a good relationship having joined the current European Champions and a team with a strong Argentinean presence. Having taken Mascherano from the misery of his time spent at West Ham United to first choice midfielder for Liverpool, Mascherano will certainly hold great respect and gratitude for the Spaniard. However it remains to be seen whether Benitez will even bid for the Argentinean.
Mascherano has also frequently alluded to the fact that his family is not entirely settled on Merseyside with his wife still unable to speak English.
The Argentinean’s flirtation with Barcelona last summer was reportedly genuine, with the Spanish club having tabled an offer for the player. Rafa Benitez though was never likely to have sanctioned Mascherano’s sale having already sold Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid. The refusal to allow Mascherano his move seemed to greatly affect his performances in the early part of the season, unable to recapture his form and focus until its latter stages.
If Mascherano does indeed wish to leave Liverpool this time then he needs to announce his intention to do so soon, allowing the manager to plan for his exit and replacement as the new season draws closer. Should this come, then the club, I believe, will accept his departure in allowing funds to be raised to give to the new manager. Though with two years still left on his contract any interested parties will surely have to bid big if they wish to acquire his services. Arguably one of the best holding midfielders in the world and the national team captain, Mascherano possesses great quality, quality that doesn’t come cheap. The club need to sell now though, ensuring they receive the highest fee possible before his contract runs down to its final year. The media focus on the Mascherano’s failure to contact Roy Hodgson has been somewhat thwarted by the manager’s recent statements but it would still be courteous of the player to show some display of acknowledgment.
Liverpool supporters will be greatly disappointed if the player does decide his future lies away from the club, a fans favourite due to his work rate and commitment. With his own song on the Kop, Mascherano has certainly made his mark in the three years since he joined the club. Liverpool fans will also be disappointed given his declarations before the World Cup of his wish to remain at Anfield and public displays of affection towards the club in badge kissing goal celebrations….never to be trusted…
Having lost Xabi Alonso last season, fans will be sad to see another of the teams ‘big players’ depart, the team once again not building from a position of strength. Having just signed Joe Cole, supporters wish to see the number of top quality players being added to rather than a one in-one out policy. The club need to right the wrongs of last season and players of the calibre of Mascherano will only improve our ability to do so.
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