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Aug 24, 2010

Mascherano Barca deal heading towards conclusion

Javier Mascherano's proposed move to Barcelona is edging closer, with both clubs moving towards a compromise on their respective valuations of the player.

• Hodgson wants Masch bid upped
• Guardiola coy on Mascherano
• Want-away Mascherano goes on strike

The Catalan giants have now gone public on their interest, and the midfielder has openly expressed his desire to leave Anfield.

It has been reported that an initial bid of £12 million, plus Alexander Hleb, was dismissed out of hand by Liverpool, but Soccernet understands that the first bid was closer to £18 million - though that figure was still some way off Liverpool's £25 million valuation.

A source close to the deal told Soccernet: "Barcelona have offered 22 million euros, and Liverpool have put a price on the player of 30million euros. I believe the magic number is 28 million euros.

"Liverpool surely cannot say no to that figure, and now it's a question of how close to that mark Barcelona are prepared to move, as they know they have to increase their offer."

Through third parties, it is being suggested that Mascherano has already accepted a huge pay rise to move to the Nou Camp, with his £30,000-a-week wages at Anfield leaping to £85,000 a week in Spain.

But it is not simply a question of Mascherano's personal finances, as personal reasons drive his desire to leave England. Liverpool, meanwhile, want to fully realise the economic benefits of the Argentina captain moving on.

"It is now well established that the club are willing to sell him, and actually want to sell him, and the player wants to go because of personal reasons," Soccernet's source explains.

"Javier loves the club, and appreciates that Liverpool bought him for £20 million when he was sitting on the bench at West Ham. He has no problems with the club and in fact, contrary to the impression being given, he has no problem with the new manager. "He likes Hodgson. Hodgson would like the player to stay as he doesn't have a replacement, but the only solution is for the Barcelona deal to go through as quickly as possible. There is no knowing if Javier will play if asked to do so at the weekend.

"Roy Hodgson has been unbelievable in the way he has dealt with this situation. The player is deeply upset that his move to Barcelona has been put in jeopardy by the price being quoted for him, and that he was in no mood to play under the circumstances. The manager has said that under those circumstances it would have been pointless picking him in any case.

"Everyone accepts that it is not the way to go about it, refusing to play, but Javier is adamant he doesn't want to play again for Liverpool and wants to go to Barcelona because of his family."

Mascherano reported for training on Tuesday morning, after Hodgson admitted he had no idea of the player's whereabouts, ahead of Liverpool's 3-0 defeat to Manchester City at Eastlands.

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