The Mirror newspaper report today that Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano is a target for Italian side Juventus.
The Argentinian captain was heavily linked with a move away from Anfield over the summer – notably to Barcelona – with his wife being unsettled on Merseyside cited as a major reason for the player’s unrest.
We understand Mascherano’s agent was indeed attempting to seal a move away from Liverpool, with his wife unable to gain a permanent visa. Even though he stayed, sources from inside the club believe it is likely he will leave next summer and would have left this summer had it not been for Rafa Benitez already losing fellow midfielder Xabi Alonso and the player feeling obliged to stay in order to remain loyal to the boss.
Todays report claims Mascherano is unhappy at the departure of former midfield partner Alonso and Juve are ready to bid £23m in January to acquire the player they almost signed back in 2007 when he left West Ham for Liverpool.
Back in the summer we were confidentially told Benitez had lined up young English midfielder Lee Cattermole as a replacement for Mascherano, which was also speculated in the mainstream press. Cattermole has since moved from Wigan to Sunderland for £6m.