Barcelona move 'feasible' for Mascherano

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The Independent Football

Liverpool remain confident that Javier Mascherano will not move to Barcelona next season, despite the player's agent suggesting he would be willing to leave.

There has been no official contact with Anfield from the European champions regarding Mascherano but there is a concern at the Nou Camp about Yaya Touré's expected absence on African Nations duty next season and with the uncertainty of Touré also being in contract talks with the club, there may be a need for defensive midfield reinforcements.

Mascherano's agent, Walter Tamer, said: "If a club like Barcelona wants to strengthen its squad after having won everything and having completed a brilliant season, obviously the player is going to say yes, we want to play there.

"It would make Javier very proud that a club like Barcelona pay him attention after such an incredible year. I believe a transfer would be feasible. I've spoken to [Barça sporting director] Txiki Begiristain, but we have not been in touch for some time."

Mascherano would be rated at around £20m, but Rafael Benítez still aims to bring in "one or two" top signings ahead of next season. Benítez revealed yesterday he was working last season to tie key players to new contracts, fully aware of the difficult financial situation at the club that would be exposed this summer.

He said: "We spent some money to solve that situation, to guarantee the extension of those contracts. Now we need to improve a little bit because we are in a very good position. Yes, we knew it would be difficult, especially as there is a [financial] crisis all around the world."

Benítez has said that "four or five top clubs" have expressed interest in Mascherano but the Argentine said a month ago: "My future is here."