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By ESPN Staff
May 1, 2009

Benitez insists Mascherano is going nowhere

Rafael Benitez revealed Argentina captain Javier Mascherano has turned down an approach by an unnamed club for his services.

The Liverpool boss is preparing his side for Sunday's crucial Premier League clash with Newcastle United at Anfield aware that the 25-year-old's position at the club has been undermined.

Mascherano is only 15 months into a four-year contract, but Benitez held talks with him on Friday following the midfielder's own comments that he was unsure about his own future on Merseyside.

Benitez refused to name the club concerned but it is understood the approach did not come from either Italy or Spain.

That suggests a Premier League club could be involved because it is unlikely that a club from anywhere else could match the player's wages or likely fee.

However Benitez has been quick to defuse the situation saying: "Javier is happy here with the fans, the club and the manager. I have had a very positive conversation with him. He has already said no to one club, a good side. He wants to stay but he cannot stop big clubs asking about him.

"If you are a top-class player, people are always asking about you. They will know if there are four or five big clubs asking for them and the player would be proud of that.

"He has tried to be polite and correct. Now I have had a conversation with him and it was very clear he wants to continue to play for us. I do not see this as a big problem.

"The conversation with him was very honest and he was very clear about things. These things happen always in football, clubs all around the world will work like this. It is just part of the situation that exists at the top level.

"You just have to handle it and work with the situation when it arises. Clearly we do not want to lose key players. Players like Mascherano and Xabi Alonso have long contracts so we are in a strong position, while we are very close now to sorting out Daniel Agger's position here.

"He wants to stay and maybe we will soon have a solution to that problem because Danny is a player with a big future here.''

Liverpool expect to announce soon that Agger has ended months of uncertainty about his future by agreeing a new deal.


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