Why Mascherano Wouldn’t Be A Good Signing For Barcelona

13 08 2010

After losing such a prized asset in Yaya Toure to Manchester City this summer, the defensive midfield position is lacking depth at the Nou Camp, and after rumours of Marcos Senna were brushed aside, it seems that Javier Mascherano will be the man the club will bring in. The reported deal is a transfer fee of £15 million plus Alexander Hleb in exchange. Now in principle that seems like a brilliant move, losing a player who is bad for the squad harmony and signing one of the best defensive midfielders in the game, however the move would bring more cons than pros.

The reason Toure left was not for his lack of love for the club, but lack of minutes. He had lost his place to Sergio Busquets, who is something of a fan favourite. Busquets is a different holding player than most; he is not a tough, physical warrior who will only smash the opponents off the ball. He is more tactically aware; he sweeps up the mess in front of his defence then passes it to players who are more capable such as Xavi or Andreas Iniesta. He is one of those players who does not stand out, and had drawn a lot of criticism that he was not that good. But he was one of Spain’s best players in the World Cup and has only enhanced his stature in Catalonia. Mascherano would be a similar player to Toure, and while he is not incapable of passing, it is not one of his strongest attributes.

Too Good A Player For Barca?

The problem with the move is that it will add to an already high wage bill which they have been working hard on this summer to cut down on. The likes of Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez were offloaded to aid with the awful financial situation at the club. Signing Mascherano however would mean the club has two quality players, and means they could play them in games suited to their abilities. But eventually one of them will become unhappy. This is why a move for someone like Senna, in the twilight years of his career, would have been smarter. He won’t moan if he is not in the team, he has not got aspirations of playing for Spain again as he is not good enough anymore, yet would be an experienced player to help tutor Busquets.

Another solution to the situation would be to promote a player from La Masia. In pre-season Jonathan dos Santos has been employed in that role, and has excelled. It is not his natural position, but he has shown his versatility and has been getting the support of the fans who want him to be promoted. Seydou Keita could be another option to play there, but again it would be a lack of a specialist. Victor Sanchez is a versatile player who has just returned from playing at Xerez last season and might be a good cover not only for Busquets, but for Daniel Alves.

It has already been reported that, during the summer, Mesut Özil had a deal all agreed but coach Pep Guardiola rejected it at the last minute, showing his trust in the players in the cantera who are showing real signs of promise, such as Thiago or Sergi Roberto. Mascherano seems to be a deal structured by new owner Sandro Rosell who still has not signed a marquee player since his arrival. However, the arrival of ‘the little chief’ would have positives as well. Firstly he is friends with Lionel Messi, and as captain of Argentina, he would help expand the fan base over in South America. Also Busquets could be pushed further up the pitch, especially with the worries about Iniesta’s fitness, meaning they both would get a frequent role in the team.

It has become more common to see teams using the ‘destroyer’ and Mascherano is the arguably the best at his role, and with the deal looking as cheap as it is, Barcelona have a brilliant deal on their hands. It is just the implications it could have, however, that might mean it is far simpler to stick with things as they are. Continue using a player who can only improve, while having young and hungry players who would step into the fold when needed. It would mean the team would have an even bigger selection of homegrown players in an already impressive group, and would save the club a lot of money, which at the moment should be a priority.

As Seen on – A Different League

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