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Barcelona director Guillermo Amor has revealed that a decision will be made soon about Javier Mascherano’s future at the club after the player recently hinted his time at the Camp Nou could be coming to an end.
Amor reiterated the 33-year-old’s ongoing importance to the Catalan club but did not clarify whether Mascherano would still be a Blaugrana player after the upcoming January transfer window.
Per Movistar (via the Mirror‘s Aaron Flanagan), Amor said: “What happens with Mascherano we will see soon. We have to see the movements and how everything happens. Mascherano is a captain, he is a winner and he is very important for us, when he plays and when he does not play, when he is injured or on the bench.”
Mascherano still has 18 months remaining on his contract with Barca, but he recently told ESPN (h/t Goal’s Ryan Benson) that “there’s not much more I can do in this club” and that he felt his time at the Camp Nou may be coming to an end.
He has certainly played a diminished role for the Blaugrana so far this season.
The Argentina international has become a bit-part player under manager Ernesto Valverde, starting just five of Barca’s 15 La Liga games in 2017-18.
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Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique are Valverde’s preferred centre-back pairing, while Thomas Vermaelen has recently been afforded some game time, starting four of Barca’s last five matches.
Mascherano has been a great servant to Barcelona since he joined the club from Liverpool in 2010.
He has successfully converted from a combative defensive midfielder into a reliable centre-back and won four La Liga titles and two UEFA Champions Leagues with the club.
If he wants to leave, he may indeed be allowed to do so, and he could certainly demand a first-team place at a number of other clubs given his talent and experience.
But Barcelona may also decide to keep Mascherano until at least the end of the season as, while he is not currently a regular starter, he could be a valuable squad player.
Barca are likely aiming to win all three of La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League this season.
To succeed on multiple fronts, a deep and capable squad is essential, and Mascherano can provide cover in both the defence and midfield.
It is clear from Amor’s comments that Barcelona are planning to make Mascherano’s position at the club clear, and it would be a surprise if they let him go in the new year.