Transfer news – Mascherano tells Hodgson he’s off to Inter
Javier Mascherano has confirmed Liverpool fans’ worst fears by telling manager Roy Hodgson he wants out of Anfield.
The Argentinian midfielder had avoided contacting Hodgson while on holiday, but in a meeting with the new boss since his return the 26-year-old made clear his desire to join up with Rafael Benitez at Inter Milan.
The news is sure to affect Liverpool’s preparations for the new season, with their 11/8 price for finishing in the top four now looking short.
A £25million bid for the dogged tackler is expected to follow, with Benitez keen to be reunited with the player he also took to Liverpool.
Mascherano is belived to be motivated by the chance to play in the Champions League, which Inter won last season (and are 9/1 to retain), as well as wanting to link up with fellow countrymen Javier Zanetti, Esteban Cambiasso and Diego Milito.
Hodgson had gotten off to a good start as Liverpool boss, winning the race for Joe Cole and convincing Steven Gerrard to stay, and a a top six spot (1/3) seemed well within range, after last season’s seventh place finish.
But after admitting the youngsters and reserves don’t look up to scratch in pre-season friendlies, the ex-Fulham manager will be further disappointed at the need to reinforce an area that had seemed strong.
Sulley Muntari could come back to the Premier League as a makeweight in the deal, but after a stop-start season in Italy and being a cause of squad unrest with Ghana at the World Cup, that deal might not prove too attractive for Hodgson.
How would Liverpool cope without the tough-tackling and tireless energy of Mascherano? Strangely, of their last 20 Premier League games without him in the team Liverpool are unbeaten. Liverpool are 14/1 to win the Premier League.