FC Barcelona are cleaning house this summer, which means a whole bunch of players are being put on the market. The team failed to win a title last season, and a squad overhaul appears to be the imminent solution. Javier Mascherano has already been linked to several Premier League clubs, but Napoli seem to be inclined to join the race for his signature.
To help Napoli’s case, the team’s manager Rafa Benitez already has a relationship with Mascherano, who he coached as a manager of Liverpool.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis seems positive towards a potential move, but also acknowledged that there are some hurdles which need to be overcome.
The Argentina international, who can also operate in the centre of defence, is under contract until 2016 and a buy-out clause set at 100million euros.
“(Napoli coach Rafa) Benitez knows Mascherano well and esteems him,” De Laurentiis said in quotes reported by Gazzetta dello Sport. “We are working on it but it’s a difficult negotiation.
“In any case, the player will turn 32 in two years’ time.”
De Laurentiis really summed it up perfectly — while Mascherano’s ability to play holding midfielder as well as center back is admirable, he isn’t getting any younger. The buy-out clause is obviously irrelevant here, as it would have to be waived for any kind of deal to take place.
If Barcelona indeed end up selling Mascherano this summer, Napoli will have to compete with some of the top Premier League clubs, which could drive up his market value.
Napoli finished third in Serie A last season.