Mascherano to leave Barca next week

Javier Mascherano will play his final Barcelona match next Thursday against Espanyol before joining Hebei China Fortune, it is reported in Spain.

A report in El Mundo Deportivo states the Argentine will join his new teammates in a training camp in Marbella after next week’s second leg of the Copa del Rey.

The 33-year-old was reportedly adamant he wanted to leave the Blaugrana this month, with the Chinese club set to pay €7m annually in wages, a €1m increase on his current deal, with the transfer fee set at €10m.

Mascherano has been out-of-favour at the club most of the season, falling behind Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique in the pecking order at the Camp Nou, but his current deal runs until June 2019.

Hebei China Fortune are managed by former Real Madrid Coach Manuel Pellegrini while they currently have former Sevilla midfielder Stephane Mbia and Gervinho – formerly of Arsenal and Roma – alongside Ezequiel Lavezzi, formerly of PSG.

Thomas Vermaelen is currently playing due to injuries to the Argentine and Umtiti, while the club have signed Colombian defender Yerry Mina from Palmeiras. 

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