EXCLUSIVE: Liverpool given first dibs over chance to re-sign old boy

Barcelona have contacted Liverpool to give them first refusal over a January deal to re-sign former favourite Javier Mascherano, sources have told TEAMtalk.

The Argentina midfielder left Anfield in 2010 to sign for the La Liga giants and has enjoyed a highly-successful stint at the Nou Camp, winning four La Liga crowns, two Champions League titles, and two FIFA Club World Cups.

However, his game time has been severely restricted this season under Ernesto Valverde and the former West Ham and River Plate star has only featured in 10 matches and 6 in La Liga.

Barcelona are understood to be in the market to sign a new central defender in January, but the club are looking to offload a number of players first as they bid to freshen up their squad.

Barca are believed to have an an option to sign Colombia international Yerry Mina for €9million next summer, while they have also been heavily linked with Ajax’s 18-year old defender Matthijs de Ligt.

And they hope to free up space in their squad by allowing Mascherano to leave, with our sources telling us that Barca have contacted Liverpool to give them first refusal on a deal to re-sign a player who made 139 appearances over his four seasons at the club between 2006 and 2010.

It’s believed Barcelona are looking for a nominal fee for the 33-year-old, who is capable of performing in both a defensive midfield role and as a centre-half. They also hope the offer could act as a sweetener following the bad blood that has followed over their pursuit of Philippe Coutinho, though any potential deal is not connected to the Brazilian.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is thought to be pondering over a January deal for Mascherano in a bid to shore up his midfield and give his side extra steel – a feature which was again questioned about his side as they chucked away a 3-0 half-time lead against Sevilla on Tuesday evening.

Klopp, however, is also giving serious thought to a surprise move for Wolves enforcer Romain Saiss, with whom they were linked on Tuesday.

However, Klopp knows a move for Mascherano would go down well with the Anfield faithful, with the player a firm favourite during his previous spell at the club.

Mascherano, 33, has suffered an injury to his right hamstring while playing for Argentina last week and he is expected to be sidelined for a month.


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