Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has revealed that he is unsure about the future of defender Javier Mascherano.
The Argentine defender has been a loyal servant to Barcelona since joining the La Liga giants from Premier League side, Liverpool in 2010. He has been in and out of Barcelona’s defender under multiple managers, forming a partnership with Gerard Pique at the heart of the defense. However, it now seems as though Ernesto Valverde has signaled at the end of Mascherano’s Barcelona career.
The 33-year-old has been linked with a move to the high-spending Chinese Super League in January. The 2017/18 season has seen make just six appearances ahead of an important January transfer window for the Catalan giants. His dedication and commitment to the club has been praised by Valverde, however, he has not offered any assurances over Mascherano’s future.
Ernesto Valverde wishes to wait for the January window
Ahead of the match against Villareal later today in the league, Valverde spoke to the media about Barcelona’s potential dealings in the January window. He was questioned about Mascherano’s future at the club, however, he had no definitive answer to the queries.
“The winter transfer market [January] hasn’t arrived yet, we wait for that to begin. And that’s one of the questions we have to look at but for the time being he’s still ours and whenever he has played, he has played well” said Valverde.
Mascherano has seen limited game time this season.
Valverde was quick to defend Mascherano’s commitment to the club and said,”“He’s committed to the club, on and off field, and as long as he’s here we don’t need to think about anything else. On field, he brings a lot, as well as in the locker room. He’s a veteran and everyone respects him, just the way he is.”
He spoke of Mascherano’s importance as a leader in the dressing room. The likes of Samuel Umtiti and Nelson Semedo have a lot to learn from the versatile Argentinian.”There are players who are role models in the dressing room for one reason or another and he’s one of those guys.”
Since making the move from Merseyside, Mascherano has been part of many triumphant Barcelona squads and has lifted the coveted UEFA Champions League trophy twice with the Blaugrana.
It’s clear that Valverde needs to clear out the deadwood in the squad if he is to allow the club to thrive in the long term. Someone like Mascherano leaving might have a temporary negative impact on the youngsters at the club, however, keeping a player of his quality on the bench is not right. Even at 33, Mascherano has a lot to offer and he will aim to show that at his next club.