Javier Mascherano finally signed his new deal with Barcelona on Monday morning (15 October), while his teammate Neymar will do the same on Friday. This puts an end to speculation linking the South American stars with a move away from the Nou Camp, after a summer where Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and even Real Madrid were all linked with the Brazilian's signing.
Sport reported earlier in the summer that Mascherano had agreed a deal in principle to move to Juventus alongside Dani Alves. The 32-year-old centre-back admitted he was considering his future amid rumours he was disappointed by the lack of support the club had given him during his tax troubles with the Spanish authorities.
Barcelona reacted to avoid his departure and in July announced an agreement for Mascherano to renew his contract until 2019. However, recent reports in Spain suggested that a big-money move to China was still on the table as Barcelona had failed to make ink the new deal.
However, last week the Catalans announced the signing would be going ahead asap, and have now confirmed the deal in an official statement.
"Javier Mascherano put pen to paper on his improved contract extension with FC Barcelona, a deal that will keep him at the club until 30 June 2019," the club confirmed. "The signing was carried out in the presence of President Josep Maria Bartomeu, Sporting Vice President Jordi Mestre and Technical Secretary Robert Fernández. "
The Neymar case is similar. The Brazilian was involved in tough negotiations over the past year after his father revealed Manchester United had made an approach to sign him during the summer of 2015.
The player himself recently confirmed he held talks with some clubs during the summer transfer window after Mundo Deportivo reported United had battled with PSG and Real Madrid to lure him away from Barcelona, offering him a lucrative deal while also being ready to pay the player's release clause.
However, on 1 July Barcelona ended the saga after announcing Neymar had decided to sign a new five-year deal at the club, increasing his release clause to €200m (£180.8m, $220m) for the first year of his contract, €222m for the second and €250m for the remaining three.
"Neymar will make his contract extension official on Friday 21 October at 3.00pm CET at the Club Offices," the club have now announced. "As the Club has already announced, the striker contract extension with FC Barcelona will tie him to the Blaugranes until 30 June 2021."