Mascherano set to stay at Anfield but Juventus sign Aquilani on loan

Roy Hodgson has, temporarily at least, won his battle to keep Javier Mascherano on Merseyside after Internazionale dramatically called off their pursuit of the Argentina captain.

On the same day that the Liverpool manager authorised Alberto Aquilani's loan move to Juventus, the Inter president, Massimo Moratti, phoned Hodgson to tell him he would no longer authorise any bids for his players.

Moratti and Hodgson's relationship goes back 15 years to the time he was appointed manager of Inter and their conversation has ended what seemed a done deal. If Moratti is to be believed, it ends speculation that Dirk Kuyt would be another prime candidate to rejoin his former manager, Rafael Benitez, at San Siro.

"I believe that Inter were only interested in two of our players and they are now not going to buy them," Hodgson said yesterday. "I spoke to Massimo Moratti on Wednesday about the fact they are not going to buy Liverpool players and Dirk comes into that category, doesn't he? Moratti said they were not going to buy."

Although it is conceivable that Mascherano (below) will leave Merseyside, where his wife has failed to settle, he has few escape routes other than Inter. Last summer he came very close to a transfer to Barcelona, prompting the Liverpool hierarchy to promise they would not stand in his way if he played another season at Anfield. Asked yesterday if he would still be interested in signing Mascherano, the Barcelona coach, Pep Guardiola, replied, "We will have to see." In the context of a terse press conference, this equates to a "yes", but the financial situation at the Catalan club makes it far from certain Liverpool will receive an offer.

Should Mascherano, who handed in a transfer request on his first day back at training, stay for at least another six months it would represent a significant victory for Hodgson, after both Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard committed themselves to Liverpool.

His insistence that he would rather run down the remaining two years of Mascherano's contract rather than see him leave Anfield cheaply, appears to have concentrated minds at San Siro, although the danger is that the midfielder, having been promised he could leave, will feel alienated. Should Liverpool sell him in January window it would be for much less than the £25m they could command this summer.

However, the increasing likelihood that Mascherano would stay made the decision to loan out Aquilani that much easier. Yesterday, Aquilani's agent confirmed his return to Serie A was almost complete. "Talks are in progress, the offer from Juventus is in and it is one that excites us," said Franco Zavaglia.

However, Zavaglia's statement, made two days ago, that Aquilani had Hodgson's confidence and was preparing for his "breakthrough season in the Premier League" now appears horribly wide of the mark. "Last year, he came here and hardly played," said Hodgson. "If he has another season like that, his value will be vastly diminished but, most importantly, he will be very unhappy.

"But with Steven Gerrard, Javier Mascherano and Joe Cole here, it is going to be very hard for me to say: 'You will always be the first name on that sheet.' It would be a disaster for him to have another year of hardly any football.

"If he can get regular games for a top Serie A team, it protects the value of the player. We are doing it with a view to bringing him back but first we need to get him back to being the player he was."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before