Javier Mascherano had already confirmed that this would be his last as a Barcelona player but reports now suggest that an agreement has been reached for the Argentina international to join Chinese Super League side, Hebei China Fortune.
Although some fine details may still be missing, Barcelona are understood to have accepted a fee in the region of €10 million and the move could be made official when the Chinese winter transfer window opens in January.
The 33-year-old has slipped down the pecking order at the Camp Nou and struggled for regular playing time under Ernesto Valverde since the signing of Samuel Umtiti. Ahead of next summer’s World Cup, Mascherano seems determined to leave and a reported salary of €19 million for a two-year spell in China appears to have tipped El Jefecito towards Hebei.
Two representatives from the Chinese club have been in Barcelona to push the move through and according to ESPN, Mascherano’s agent Walter Tamer has confirmed that a deal has now been agreed.
Hebei’s initial offer had been rejected by Barcelona but Tamer is though to have been instrumental in getting that amount increased with some reports even suggesting Mascherano contributed money to force the move.
Barcelona will be getting Mascherano’s hefty €5.5 million per year salary of the wage bill but the Argentina international could potentially be set to more than double that figure in China.
Mascherano would be joining up with compatriot Ezequiel Lavezzi and playing under former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini if the move goes through next month.
The Argentinian icon joined Barcelona from Liverpool in 2010 and has since won four La Liga titles, four Copa del Reys, two Champions League titles and two Club World Cups. A tremendous servant to the Catalan giants, Mascherano would have not been short of offers from around Europe but six months before La Albiceleste travel to Russia for the World Cup, Jefecito is all set for China.