- Javier Mascherano wants exit, but Barcelona keen for stay
- Arthur linked with move, but €50m release clause is issue
- Barcelona remain on course for silverware without changes this season
- READ MORE: Video: BBC pundit argues Lionel Messi should have won Ballon d’Or, not Cristiano Ronaldo
Barcelona have enjoyed a successful start to the season, but transfer speculation continues to suggest that there could be arrivals and departures.
The Catalan giants sit top of the La Liga table with a five-point lead over their nearest rivals, while they qualified top of their Champions League group.
It hasn’t always been convincing, as their recent back-to-back draws in the league would suggest, but they remain on course early in the season to win major honours.
However, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has had his say on two bits of important transfer talk in his Sky Sports Q&A on Friday.
Firstly, he has suggested that Javier Mascherano is keen to leave the Nou Camp, but especially after Samuel Umtiti’s injury earlier this month, Barcelona can’t afford to see him leave unless an immediate replacement is brought in to add quality and depth.
Long-term changes are needed at the back regardless given the age of Mascherano and the injury history of Thomas Vermaelen, but evidently a January exit would leave them badly short.
“Mascherano has asked Barca to let him go, he wants to go now. I think he has had enough, he’s given plenty to Barcelona and it’s time to move on. He is forcing his way out of the club but Barcelona are short of centre-backs at the moment and want him to fill in there for the time being.”
Insight on Barcelona’s pursuit of Gremio starlet Arthur
Meanwhile, as seen below, Gremio youngster Arthur was seen in a Barcelona shirt last weekend, and in turn has been heavily linked with a move to the Nou Camp.
However, Balague has intimated that his €50m release clause is too steep for Barca, and rightly so as the 21-year-old has yet to really convince at a high level on a consistent basis or at international level, albeit he has impressed for his club to this point at such a young age and would address a problem in midfield for Barca who must find long-term successors to key figures.
As a result, Balague believes that unless Gremio are ready to negotiate and lower their demands, the deal may not happen regardless of the image below and the intention to sign him.
“Arthur has got an agreement with Barcelona, but that needs to be confirmed in an agreement with Gremio, who are demanding the midfielder’s €50m buy-out clause be met. Barca want the player but they don’t want to pay that hefty figure.”
At this moment nothing is official, but in my opinion it is extremely hard that Barcelona fail to sign Arthur. It’s clear that they want him, and I can’t see a 21-yo turning them down when they seem to value him this much.
His release clause is €50M. pic.twitter.com/pWSk3Ruu2G
— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStat) December 2, 2017