Belfast Telegraph

Mascherano set for Barca move

Javier Mascherano is set for a move to Barcelona after Liverpool confirmed terms for the transfer of the Argentina captain had been agreed.

Earlier this week Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson insisted Mascherano would see out the remaining two years of his Anfield contract if the club's valuation of the player was not met.

But the 26-year-old, who was also linked with a move to join former Reds boss Rafael Benitez at Inter Milan, now appears close to a switch to the Nou Camp.

A statement on Liverpool's official website, www.liverpoolfc.tv, read: "Liverpool Football Club have agreed terms for the transfer of Javier Mascherano to FC Barcelona.

"The Spanish club have now been given permission to speak to the Argentina midfielder."

The midfielder was again left out of the squad for Thursday night's 2-1 Europa League play-off win at Trabzonspor in Turkey after a bid of £16million from Barcelona was rejected. However, it now appears the Primera Division champions have stumped up the required sum to prise Mascherano away from Liverpool and to the Nou Camp.

A statement on the Barcelona website, www.fcbarcelona.cat, read: "FC Barcelona and Liverpool FC have reached an agreement in principle for the transfer of Javier Mascherano to the club for the next four seasons.

"The deal was closed after intensive efforts made by the club in the final hours and through the player himself in the negotiations.

"Barcelona will report the details of the operation once the player passes the medical and the transfer is concluded.

"It is hoped Javier Mascherano will arrive in Barcelona this weekend."

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