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Mascherano waves goodbye to Barca as China move agreed

Mascherano waves goodbye to Barca as China move agreed

Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano has accepted an offer from Chinese Super League club Hebei China Fortune, according to various reports in Spanish press.

The Argentine defender is said to be leaving the Catalan club in January after dropping to the bench this season.

Excellent form from French defender Samuel Umtiti has seen Mascherano’s place alongside Gerard Pique diminish and with his contract due to expiry next summer; the former Liverpool man is looking for a cheap exit in the winter months.

Barca, however, are keen to keep him at the club after an injury to Umtiti, which will keep him out of action until the end of January but a lucrative offer from China has been offered to the former West Ham United man and it is now reported that he has accepted.

The 33-year-old has recently discussed his wishes to play an important part in Argentina’s World Cup squad next summer in Russia and will receive more playing time at his new club.

Mundo Deportivo report that the Chinese club have offered a deal in the region of €7m annually in wages, which is more than Barcelona pay the defender at present.

Hebei China Fortune, who are bossed by former Real Madrid and Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini – have a squad full of former European players with Stephane Mbia, Gervinho and Ezequiel Lavezzi all featuring.

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For Barca, following on from Umtiti’s injury, former Arsenal man Thomas Vermaelen has been playing alongside Pique, whilst youngster David Costas is the only other recognised centre-back available to boss Ernesto Valverde.