Barcelona have ended speculation regarding Javier Mascherano's future, confirming the former Liverpool midfielder has signed a new deal committing himself to the Nou Camp until 2019. The club's technical secretary, Robert Fernandez, also revealed that the club will complete their summer overhaul with the signing of a new forward, following the recruitment of Denis Suarez, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Digne and Andre Gomes.
Mascherano has been a crucial player for the current La Liga champions ever since he moved to Spain in 2010. Originally playing in the middle of the park, he has subsequently established himself in central defence alongside Gerard Pique, following Carles Puyol's retirement.
However, the Argentine's future in Catalonia came under scrutiny in May, when Sport reported both he and then teammate Dani Alves had agreed personal terms to move to Juventus.
The Brazilian right-back moved to the Serie A giants just days later as a free agent, but Mascherano stayed put as he was still under contract and Barcelona were unwilling to negotiate a transfer.
Juventus general director Giuseppe Marotta later seemed to indicate his club had given up on any move, declaring the recruitment of Mascherano "all but impossible".
Barcelona have now closed the door to any move, announcing the player's contract renewal during the press conference presentation of new signing Gomes.
"Javier Mascherano will continue at FC Barcelona until 30 June 2019, as announced by Director of Professional Sports Albert Soler during the press conference for Andre Gomes' presentation," the club confirmed on their official website. "The Argentine will be extending his current deal by a further year."
In the same conference, Fernandez repeated the club's plans to sign a new forward to serve as back-up to the MSN trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar. The club have been knocked back in recent weeks for a number of targets, such as Luciano Vietto, but Fernandez claims they still have names left on their shopping list.
"The striker will arrive when he has to arrive," Fernandez said. "We are considering to two options, signing a young player or a more experienced one. We are open to different alternatives. When you go to find a position to improve you consider many options and then you have to analyse well which one fits better. It is always difficult. We are very calmed about it. We know very well what we want. I have spoken with the manager about it clearly and we know what king of profile we want."