Current reports from Italy suggest that the greatly discussed sale of Javier Mascherano to Inter Milan and a link up with his former manager Rafa Benitez could quickly progress as the week commences, with the Italians suggesting that a deal could be agreed by the two clubs as early as Wednesday.
Mascherano, citing a number of reasons, has sought a move since an opportunity to join Barcelona fell through last summer, with suggestive comments from his agent being common place in the media and in many fans eyes decreasing the professionalism of the player in the way that he has chosen to conduct his business. Hodgson revealed in interview that during the course of the players 3 week allowed leave following his World Cup efforts he had been unable to contact the player and on the first day of the players return to Melwood for training, he confirmed his wish to leave the club.
Hodgson confirmed his disappoint with the players decision but also acknowledged that it was not uncommon to come up against in football but at the present time he remained a Liverpool player and that may remain the case. However given the new managers obvious efforts to bring confidence and harmony back to the Anfield dressing room, the transfer of Mascherano was virtually an unsaid certainty given the restlessness that an unhappy player can cause, as well as the impact on his own form in the majority of cases.
The managers comments did little more than to confirm that the player would be permitted to leave L4 but for nothing less than the evaluation that Liverpool FC placed on his services as well as the time left on his existing contract. It is believed that Inter are to table an official bid for 27m Euros with Liverpool looking for closer to the 35m Euro mark as a minimum, no doubt negotiation will bring the sides out somewhere in between. Should Inter table a acceptable bid for Mascherano then Liverpool are likely to accept and conclude quickly to make the most time of the remaining transfer window.
The names of Scott Parker (West Ham), Christian Poulsen (Juventus) and Steven Defour (Standard Liege) continue to be the trio linked as Hodgson’s ideal candidates for reinvestment in the Liverpool midfield, all believed to carry a valuation around the £10m mark. West Ham have reportedly already rejected an £8m approach from Spurs for their defensive midfielder and state every couple of days via one media method or another that he is simply not for sale. The player is believed to be interested in a move to the likes of Liverpool or Spurs with the chance to play European football but for now and no doubt until the right (or over inflated) money is offered West Ham continue on their stance.
Given the minimal investment made so far on the four players Hodgson has acquired (Cole, Jovanovic, Wilson & Aurelio), plus the profits from the sale of Riera, Mascherano, any further players and an initial small kitty, Hodgson could yet boost the squad with another 2-4 new faces to ease some of the squads lack of depth in certain areas and continue to reinstate belief that Liverpool are more than after their place back amongst the top four come the end of the season.
The exit of the Argentinian captain will see the loss of a very good player tactically for the side but he does come with baggage, its more than possible that Roy Hodgson and Liverpool FC may well gain more than they lose.