Barca Sign Mascherano Replacement, Bringing An End To His Anus-Tearing Days In Catalonia
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According to the latest reports, Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune and FC Barcelona have finally agreed to terms on the transfer of 33-year-old Argentinian defender Javier Mascherano, bringing a close to seven-and-a-half illustrious seasons at the Camp Nou. But the legend’s departure has been quickly offset by the addition of 23-year-old Colombian center back Yerry Mina.
The defender arrives from Palmeiras on a five-and-a-half-year contract for $14.22 million. His “stay away PSG and Manchester City clause” has been set at $120.5 million while he settles in as an understudy to Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti and the suddenly revitalized Thomas Vermaelen.
Mina made a name for himself in Bogota with Santa Fe, helping the club win the 2015 Copa Sudamericana. A move to Brazilian giants Palmeiras followed in May of 2016, where he immediately helped the club to the 2016 Brasileirão title. The 6-5 center half has also earned nine caps with Colombia, scoring three goals, including one in World Cup qualifying versus Uruguay.
Mina becomes Barcelona’s second January signing alongside Philippe Coutinho as a new era begins at the club. Mascherano’s exit means only four of the 18 players from Barca’s 2011 Champions League final squad remain — Pique, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi.
But the writing has been on the wall for Mascherano. His play was somewhat limited in 2016-17 (his 40 appearances in all competitions being his lowest total ever at the club), and that has become the norm this campaign. After making a patented anus-tearing tackle in Barcelona’s first league match, he’s gone on to start just five more La Liga games.
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With the 2018 World Cup with Argentina a priority, Mascherano will look to stay match fit in China while earning $8.43 million per year alongside international teammate Ezequiel Lavezzi and former Arsenal/Roma attacker Gervinho.
After paying nearly $29 million to secure his services from Liverpool, Hebei China Fortune will pay Barca less than $7 million for the transfer. But four La Liga titles, four Copa del Reys and two Champions Leagues show that Mascherano wasn’t exactly a flop for the Blaugrana. He'll go down as one of the club's greatest-ever signings.