Mascherano moves closer to Liverpool deal
Monday 22 March 2010
Contract talks with Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano are edging closer to a resolution but manager Rafael Benitez accepts there is still a little more work to do.
The two parties have been talking over a new deal for the Argentina captain for some time and Benitez is confident the matter will be resolved to both their satisfaction.
Mascherano, whose current contract still has nearly two years to run, was a target for Barcelona last summer and Liverpool are keen to tie him to a new long-term contract to prevent another close season of speculation, especially in a World Cup year.
Spain goalkeeper Jose Reina will sign his new deal in the next three weeks to join the likes of Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt and Daniel Agger in committing their future to the Reds.
"We were talking, progressing and we're closer now. Still we need to talk a little bit but we are closer," said Benitez.
"It would be very important for the club. We have some important players with some years left on their contracts and this could be another one. It's very important that we're keeping the spine of the team.
"Every fan knows he's a very important player for us, a key player who's good for team spirit. He's an example for a lot of players.
"He shows every game his commitment, desire and passion. He has great character, but he can also play. He's a player every manager would like to have in their team."
Less clear is the future of winger Albert Riera, who last week was suspended for his outspoken comments about Benitez and the club, which he described as a "sinking ship".
Riera will be further disciplined - in the form of a fine - by the club later this week when he returns to training.
But such was Benitez's anger at the content and timing of the Spain international's remarks - coming on the eve of the crucial Europa League last-16 second tie at home to Lille - there is still a possibility the player could be hastily jettisoned.
Riera, who has a Russian wife, has been linked with a move to CSKA Moscow and also Spartak Moscow as the Russian league's transfer window does not close until next month.
Latest in Sport
Guus Hiddink leaves Netherlands: Louis van Gaal's replacement resigns less than a year after taking Dutch job
Sergio Ramos to Manchester United: Real Madrid defender 'wants' Old Trafford switch
Petr Cech joins Arsenal: key dates for the goalkeeper after Chelsea move - including Stamford Bridge return on 19 September
Wimbledon 2015: Andy Murray tests himself with practice games against Rafael Nadal
Arsenal sign Petr Cech: Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Hector Bellerin, Aaron Ramsey - and even Wojciech Szczesny welcome goalkeeper
- 1 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato