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Javier Mascherano to quit Anfield; Inter Milan remain favoured destination

July 27, 2010

Mascherano and teammate Fernando Torres after Liverpool's 2-1 victory over Marseille in the Champions League in the 2008/09 season

Fernando Torres’ future is still very much up in the air. He may stay, he may go. One member of the squad that Roy Hodgson can be certain wants to leave Anfield this summer is Argentina captain Javier Mascherano who is unsettled on Merseyside. It is believed that Mascha wants a reunion with ex-Reds boss Rafael Benitez, who is now the manager of Italian giants Inter Milan.

In a statement to the press, Hodgson said:

Yes, he wants to leave the club. He has made that perfectly clear. I think he wanted to leave a year ago. He wants to leave now but he is contracted to Liverpool so whether he leaves or not will not be our decision.

Whilst it is not 100% that the tenacious midfielder will quit Liverpool before the end of the current transfer window, usually when a player states his desire to move on, the deal happens. Now, despite many of the current crop of players voicing their concerns over their personal treatment during the Rafael Benitez regime, Mascherano is one of the very few players to stick by the Spaniard, and now has his sights set on making the move to San Siro.

Liverpool’s American owners, George Gillet and Tom Hicks, would be foolish to keep Mascha at the club. They’d also be foolish to let him leave for less than £25mill, especially to a club like Inter Milan who are currently in talks with Manchester City over the sale of £30mill-rated Mario Balotelli. It seems that the sale of the controversial forward would fund the potential deal to bring Mascherano to Italy, meaning that the Liverpool board should be looking for a deal worth in excess of £25mill. Anything less, and there would be substantial uproar against the owners, something they are not unfamiliar with.

Mascherano has been a fantastic servant to Liverpool throughout the 3 years he has been with the club. Despite not winning any silverware at Liverpool, he played vital roles in the 2007 Champions League campaign that saw Liverpool reach their 2nd final in three years, and also in the 2008/09 Premier League season, a season in which Liverpool came agonizingly close to winning their first title in 19 years.

Unfortunately for Liverpool, last season Mascherano was one of the many players who failed to reproduce the goods from the season before, and a lack of form coupled with a typically unhealthy disciplinary rate on the field means that this summer is probably the right time for Masch to call time on his Anfield career. As much as I rate him as a footballer, and think he was one of the few excellent players Rafael Benitez brought to Liverpool, £30mill could be used to bring in two or three top-class players to replace him and fill in a couple of the other vacant positions that are present in the Liverpool squad. It may also be a chance for Alberto Aquilani and Lucas to really come to the fore and show what they can do as first team regulars.

People may draw comparisons to the sale of Xabi Alonso in 2009, a sale that proved to be a massive loss for Liverpool last season. The fee received for that particular deal was also £30mill, which was spent on Roma’s Aquilani who spent the majority of the campaign on the sidelines with various injuries. Whether that was a wise piece of business is open for debate and may well be confirmed in the next 3 or 4 months, but Aqua will certainly be determined to prove his worth on Merseyside this year. The difference between the Xabi Alonso sale and any potential deal taking Mascherano to Milan, is that Alonso was playing the best football of his career and was a linchpin in the Liverpool team. Mascherano is probably not quite at that stage, and whilst I agree he was a very important cog in Rafa’s system, now is definitely the time for him to move on and for new manager Roy Hodgson to start the search for a worthy replacement.

As a Mascherano supporter, I’d like to wish him the best of luck if he does make the much expected move to Inter Milan, and hope that one day he returns to Anfield to a warm welcome and deserved applause.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. T-J permalink
    July 28, 2010 1:44 am

    Your probably right that Balotelli’s transfer would fund Masc’s, but I wont be too sad to see him leave, as you said his for was poor and his disciplin lacking last term, the true sign a player doesnt want to be at a club?! But with Aqua, Lucas, Gerrard, Cole (if he playes through the middle), Jono and Jay there just doesnt seem much room for him. But that doesnt mask the fact that in Masc we are losing a player of quality, hopefully Roy has a replacement in mind.

    Masc didnt seem to work without Alonso, but then again the whole team didnt, its sad really how the sale of one player can effect the club so dramatically! But what a player.

    Also Balotelli really worth 30 mil? For me this is a massive over pricing of a talented youngster who from what I have seen is still very far from the finished article and just not worth that much.

    Good article!

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