Barcelona star Javier Mascherano has agreed a deal in principle to move to Juventus during the coming summer transfer window, according to Sport. The Spanish publication, however, reports that the Serie A champions still need to convince the La Liga giants to part ways with the defender as sources at the Catalan club insist that they are not ready to negotiate the departure of the former Liverpool star at any price.
Mascherano moved to the Nou Camp in the summer of 2010 after garnering a reputation as one of the best holding midfielders in Europe during his time at Liverpool. However, the 31-year-old was forced to adapt to a new role in the heart of the Barcelona back-line as former manager Pep Guardiola decided to use him alongside Gerard Pique to fill the gap left by Carlos Puyol.
The 31-year-old has never hidden that his favourite position is in midfield, but still became a crucial player for the Catalans during the club's recent golden era, helping them to win four La Liga titles, three Copa del Rey crowns and two Champions Leagues.
Two summers ago, he revealed that that he was considering leaving Barcelona to reunite with his former boss at Liverpool, Rafa Benitez, at Napoli. He was worried about being forced to take a secondary role at the Nou Camp, with Barcelona signing Thomas Vermaelen and Jeremy Mathieu to fight with him for a position in Luis Enrique's defence.
However, Mascherano stayed at Barcelona, where he has remained as the preferred option to play alongside Pique. However, his future has come under renewed scrutiny in recent times as Barcelona are once again looking to bolster their defensive options with a top-class stopper, amid reports linking them with the likes of Aymeric Laporte and Marquinhos.
Mundo Deportivo reported on 26 May that Mascherano was considering quitting the Nou Camp to be the main man somewhere else, possibly returning to his favoured position in the middle of the park.
Just hours later, Sport reported that the Argentine's departure is close than ever as he has already agreed a three-year-deal to move to Juventus ahead of next season.
Sport claims that the 31-year-old defender is well aware that this might be his last big contract and the Serie A giants have convinced him to move by offering him a much bigger salary than his current one at Barcelona.
However, the Spanish publication claims that the deal will not be that easy as Barcelona sources claim that they want him to stay and will not facilitate his departure.
The news about Mascherano comes after AS reported that Barcelona are on the verge of completing the signing of Sidnei from Deportivo de la Coruna .Marc Bartra and Thomas Vermaelen are also expected to leave the Nou Camp during the coming mercato.
Should Mascherano finally leaves the Nou Camp he will be the second departure of the summer, after Barcelona confirmed that Sandro Ramirez is free to leave the Nou Camp.