Whilst the Argentinian captain has been sat with his feet up this evening watching Spain knock out Germany and a couple more of his team mates head in to the final, he might be forgiven for wondering where it all went wrong for Argentina along the way and more so where he will actually be playing his football next season?
Perhaps Mascherano has made that decision in his mind already and is just waiting for his agent and the clubs to sort it out between themselves, perhaps he still has no idea at all. It was certainly no surprise that no sooner had the season finished then Barcelona were back on the scene again after failing to get their main last summer, predictable it was, or perhaps they would prefer to call it unfinished business.
Despite Inter Milan currently having their name on the Champions League trophy, many still see Barcelona as the leading side in Europe, the side already blessed with the likes of Messi and Xavi have recently added David Villa to their star studded line up but dont wish to stop at that. The debate continues to rage as to whether Barca prefer Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas over the Reds Javier Mascherano, or not as the case maybe, or whether Barca will just opt for pure greed and try and find a way to accomodate the pair at the Nou Camp, that story is likely to play out for a little while longer yet. But is all as well at the Nou Camp as the picture they may paint? Do they really have the pick of any of the worlds greatest players without consequence?
Well Bloomberg may give you a slightly different version of events as reports emerged that Barcelona are presently negotiating a £125m loan after falling behind with player wages, denying in the process that it is bankrupt though. Last week, Barcelona said it became the world’s biggest sports team by sales, overtaking Real Madrid. Revenue rose 16 percent to 445.5 million euros for the year through June 30 following its 2009 Champions League title. Net income was 9 million euros.
Barcelona’s seven-year, 1 billion-euro contract with Mediapro through 2013 isn’t secured by a bank guarantee, unlike Real Madrid’s accord, Rosell said. While Barcelona has had assurances from Mediapro, concern over the contract remains, Rosell said, according to the website. The team’s costs soared the last year as it paid out 40 million euros in bonuses to players and coaches after winning several trophies, the team confirmed last week.
The cost of success can be a pricey one as these events show but reaching the summit is just one thing, staying at the top is something very different altogether, the moment something slips it inevitably leads to another slip before resolutions can start making an impact. So whether Mascherano’s move to Spain is held up by a decision being made at Arsenal or an underwriter at the local bank remains to be seen.
Lets bring Inter Milan into the equation… Initially they made as much noise as Barca in courting Mascherano but that too has taken a slightly different turn. Mascherano has made it clear he is an admirer of Benitez’s style of football, it is his football, helping to go some way to dispelling the myth that Benitez had lost the dressing room at Anfield and player power forced him out the door and Italy bound. This was later and largely proven to be due to the actions of Liverpools own, financially intelligent but footballing challenged managing director Christian Purslow.
So now it seems Inter have opted to sit a few yards back from the Barcelona lead, declaring their interest could appear somewhat later in the summer as opposed to right now, this could in fact be a clever move by Benitez and Massimo Moratti. A player Benitez knows well, potentially has more influence over than Guardiola and can afford to see how what position Barcelona leave themselves in concerning their finances and Fabregas before putting an offer on the table for the Liverpool board to digest. An offer that could be well lower than he would need to put on the table right now.
For sure Liverpool will try and hold out for top dollar on the Argentinian’s exit, they need to for the sake of their own squad which is thin on the ground in areas before even glancing across those warming the bench. If Masch is going to venture on to pastures new then Liverpool need someone to play a card now, or at least entice them in to doing so to maximise the opportunity to rebuild the squad and reinvest the funds in other players as long as the Liverpool board remain true to their word, something that would make a very refreshing change.
Should Mascherano confirm his exit then it is for sure going to be in the region of £25m – £40m pounds for the player which is received by the Reds, which is quite a swing in the figures in itself, its all down to how late the bid comes, whether both clubs remain interested and can be played off against each other, assuming that the seemingly distant third option that Roy Hodgson actually managers to convince Javier to continue protecting the Liverpool back four, doesnt come in to play.
Liverpool may look to go for a swap deal with either side depending on the options available to limit some time spent in the transfer market but this process tends to be far more favourable to the side gaining the star man than the one losing him. For sure both sides have some options on players but this could actually prolong the process as Liverpool cannot offer Champions League football or even a clearly laid out future. Cambiasso was mentioned as deal swinger at Inter with Toure at Barcelona the same but that option is now closed with the player opting to play at Eastlands as Man City continue to strengthen their squad at speed and with some of the leading names in the game.
Many a Red would like to see Wesley Sneijders name brought in to the equation as a possible trade as Man Utd start to look to flex their muscles in the market, albeit with large financial issues of their own but this is always going to be hard sell for the greatest of salesman but it is true that you dont get if you dont ask and for some this would at least be a step in the right direction to hear the club linked with players of Sneijder’s stature again and to have tried and failed as opposed to have not tried at all, instead of just opting for a half way house that shows the world where Liverpool’s ambition and capabilities truly lie with its existing owners.
The game of cat and mouse will continue to develop around Mascherano but for sure out of Barcelona, Inter Milan and Liverpool one of them could very easily be the cat that is left crying it has far less milk than the others, hopefully Liverpool have the intelligence to ensure it isnt them and that a pile of spin doesnt need to be dragged out to cover another summer of disappointment and failings.