The simple answer is yes because I'd pretty much trust Brendan Rodgers' judgement over anything after last season, never mind whether or not to sign a player who jibbed us off a few years ago; and if Brendan thinks there's a place for him here, then that's good enough for me. I thought his behaviour on the way out of the Anfield door was questionable, but then again, if I was him, I'd have wanted to join Pep's Barca. The thing is he doesn't play for Pep's Barca any more does he? The new Pep's Barca is Brendan's Liverpool and who wouldn't want to get on board that particular bandwagon? So I can deffo see what's in it for him.
As for what's in it for us, that's slightly less obvious than it once would've been because we no longer play with a *cringes at the over-used and highly crass football manager shorthand* "DM", which is what he was when last here. Brendan rightly prefers a player who can control the entire game in that position on the pitch and, even if we didn't have Steven Gerrard at his imperious best currently fulfilling that role, it's not one Mascherano is capable of anyway. Furthermore, the idea that he could play centre half in England is utterly risible; he'd be had for breakfast by even the worst strikers the Championship is currently preparing to send our way.
So if not in those two positions, where? Well I think he could most certainly do a great job on the opposite side of the captain to Henderson to provide the ultimate in pressing and harrying midfields. I wouldn't necessarily see him playing every game, but then again I'm hopeful that we're rapidly reaching a stage in our evolution where no-one will play every game - even the magisterial King Luis who looked slightly jaded at the end of the recently completed campaign. Champions League football will require a much bigger squad and I'm also expecting more sustained domestic cup runs next year too. So in that regard, I see 'The Chief' as being an upgrade on Lucas whose lack of mobility is now glaring in the context of BR's current tactics.
On top of that, I'd very much welcome his attitude on the pitch and experience of winning major trophies. However, the price would have to be right and for a bloke who'll be 30 in a couple of weeks and in the last year of his contract, that would be a fee of less than £10m and wages that are related to appearances/performance: big bucks for boss footy but more modest remuneration for mere bench-warming.
I have a lot of concerns about the validity of this rumour so I’ll start with that – I would be very surprised if it was true that we wanted to sign Mascherano. I have no doubt he’s about to leave Barcelona because they need a lot of work, especially in defence, and at 29 he is possibly the odd man out. But would he come back to Liverpool? The stories of homesickness persisted throughout all his time in England and unless his circumstances have changed it would make no sense at all for him to come back here.
And then there’s the way he left, which wasn’t pleasant. A lot of time has passed since the no show at Man City but at a dark time for the club in the dying days of Gillett and Hicks, he got out and made sure we had no choice other than to sell him. He owed us for turning his career around after his disastrous time at West Ham and he disappeared the first moment he could when things got tough.
But to be honest, I am willing to forgive that because I think he’s an absolutely phenomenal footballer. Time is a great healer and football fans are fickle beasts. As long as it’s all about the football I’d be over the moon to see him back. At 29 he has plenty of years in the tank and if you believe what you read in The Mirror he’s available for less than £10m. For me, that is an absolute steal.
Having come so close to winning the league you’d think we didn’t need massive changes but we do – we need to build a squad capable of challenging on more than one front. We need more creative players but being able to rotate Mascherano in instead of the likes of Luis Alberto would speak volumes for the improvement we would be making.
I wouldn’t want to see him play as a centre half because I don’t think he’d cut it in England. He’d lose too many headers and in this league, that costs you. He’s okay doing that at Barcelona but it won’t wash here.
I do think he’d be ideal to break play up – that was what he did so superbly for us. He doesn’t have a great range of passing and I don’t see how he AND Gerrard could fit into the same team, but everything we do this summer is about improving our options – making sure that our small squad is improved and not overstretched by the return to continental competition.
I don’t think it will happen and I think we’ll sign Lallana (with whom I’d be very happy as well) and again, I don’t see us signing both. But in terms of “would I forgive and forget?” I absolutely would, because I can’t help but remember the snidey little fella affectionately.
Well this is interesting. Of all the players I thought we might be linked with this summer, Javier Mascherano was not one I saw coming. Sure he’s been mentioned on the forum and social media, but that’s in the same way I still wish Xabi Alonso would come back, even when I know there’s not a chance that he will. But a possible return of Mascherano? Well this is just a bolt from the blue.
Now full disclosure, when this question came up, I suddenly had a recollection that I ‘might’ have written something for the fanzine on Mascherano’s departure at the time. I couldn’t quite recall but it seemed vaguely familiar to me so I thought maybe I should just go and check before giving my answer here. Good job I did, I absolutely savaged Mascherano and his wife.
I bemoaned the state of modern football and that contracts meant nothing, that loyalty was just a word, I said his reputation here was in tatters and told him to act like the professional he supposedly was. So in short, I wasn’t happy but who was at the time? The club was on its knees, about to be dragged through the High Court for it’s future and we had a divisive manager in charge who wasn’t up to the job. Amidst all of this, Mascherano couldn’t wait to get out of Dodge. He never took full ownership for the reasons for going; he just laced the truth with a pile of little complaints and then left by taking a slight wage cut so Barcelona could afford him.
That exit stuck in the craw. I loved Mascherano when he was here, he was tenacious, angry, ruthless and he had the right amount of crazy about him. He also can play in a position where we’re a little light at the moment. Gerrard won’t be able to play every game next year with the new, extra cup commitments and Lucas seems to be going backwards (slowly, of course). So if he can be snapped up for around the mooted £9million, would I have him back? Am I that fickle/hypocritical?
This is difficult, I have no problem being fickle or a hypocrite, these traits are part of every football fan all over the world. On the one hand he walked out on the club when we needed people to stand up and be counted. On the other he offers a viable alternative to Gerrard. Would Mascherano stand for being on the bench most weeks? Gerrard will play most games and Mascherano won’t be partnering him, unless Rodgers is thinking about altering the style of play that we currently enjoy.
We need a bigger squad for next season and more seasoned players never hurt anyone. I’d be tempted to say that Mascherano would give us more steel; he’d stand up and be counted if we were under pressure, but then he did slope off when we needed such individuals in 2010. This signing provides more questions than answers from my point of view. I’m not ready to welcome someone back who left so acrimoniously, even if he did try to apologise by dedicating his Champions League win to us.
Napoli always seem to be linked with players from our 2008/09 team, as if Benitez is obsessed with rebuilding that team, maybe that’s where Mascherano fits in, I don’t believe he fits in here any more.