Javier Mascherano to leave FC Barcelona for China in January

Javier Mascherano will not end the current La Liga season at FC Barcelona after a decision has been taken that will allow him to close a move to Chinese side Hebei Fortune.

Mascherano, 33, is set for a move to China despite his current contract with Barca that runs until 2019 as the player’s been given the necessary guarantees from the club for a smooth transition.

Barca will receive around €6 million for the Argentine international, who will sign a deal worth €7m per year in China.

There have been numerous links between Mascherano and other top clubs at Europe including his old club Liverpool FC ever since he had fallen out of favour at Nou Camp and was relegated to being the third-choice of centre-back under coach Ernesto Valverde behind Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti.

“I think so, My stage here is ending.” Mascherano said last month when asked if he was entering his final days at Barcelona, therefore indicating that he was intent on not making the same mistakes as he did before leaving Liverpool in 2010.

“It makes sense that after such a long time there’s not much more I can do in this club. I’m not saying it with a heavy heart. I’ve had the best years of my career in this club. I’ll never forget it.”

Still, efforts have been made to keep Mascherano at Barca with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu asking him to remain longer with the Catalan club, while Andres Iniesta also recently declared that Barcelona were not yet resigned to losing Mascherano — who has been absent since he was sidelined with a hamstring injury early November but could return against Deportivo La Coruna this weekend.

However, it is far more likely likely for Mascherano to leave when after it was understood that his desire was so strong to leave — he already tried in the summer — they felt he had earned the right to choose when he moves on from Camp Nou.

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