'Selfish' Mascherano gets £18m Barça move

Javier Mascherano finally secured the move to Barcelona he has been agitating for since the World Cup yesterday but left Anfield with a denunciation that he was '"selfish" from the manager Roy Hodgson ringing in his ears.

Liverpool have agreed a fee of around £18m for the Argentine midfielder with Barça, and Mascherano is expected to sign a four-year, £85,000-a-week contract this weekend, once he passes a medical.

His three-year stay on Merseyside ended badly when he refused to play against Manchester City in the Premier League on Monday and Hodgson wasted little time yesterday in questioning Mascherano's professionalism.

"It is not easy for me to defend the actions [of Mascherano] because professionals are paid to play and when they are called on to play, they play," he said. "We had a player at Blackburn, Graeme Le Saux, who was very agitated when I joined the club because he was determined to go to Chelsea and that caused a lot of problems in pre-season. Tim Sherwood was wanted by Tottenham and that caused a lot of problems because he wanted to get back to London.

"These situations do occur unfortunately and we have to live with it. I don't think they [the players] mean it as a challenge to your authority or a challenge to the club's authority.

"It is just a selfish situation that they have got something they want to do and they just expect the club, and therefore you as one of the leaders of the club, to bow down and accept that they are going to do it.

"Unfortunately there are going to be periods of time when there will be some unpleasantness because players must also understand that when you sign contracts you sign contracts to play."

Hodgson, whose side hope to record their first Premier League win of the season against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield tomorrow, now has just three days to reinforce a rather stretched squad before the transfer window closes.

A deal is close for Fulham left-back Paul Konchesky but Hodgson also needs reinforcements up front to give Fernando Torres some support. "We still need to improve our squad and we haven't much time to do that," he said. "I am hoping we still have the chance to add at least a couple of players to the squad – to at least replace the ones who are no longer with us. With Mascherano going we are losing a lot of player and not bringing any in so it is not good in that respect."

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