Rafael Benitez, used to spending his summer holidays working through other people’s millions in the transfer market, may have to content himself with an ice cream and a good book this year, after Inter Milan owner Massimo Moratti decided the club would not be buying Javier Mascherano.
The new Inter manager had made no secret of his desire to bring Mascherano with him from Liverpool, and the Argentinian captain had made it patently clear he was eager to move on.
Liverpool’s imminent signing of Juventus midfielder Christian Poulsen also felt like an instant repair to the hole Mascherano would leave.
With a price tag of around €20million, Moratti said “It’s just not possible at the moment, especially as we haven’t sold anyone. If we don’t sell, we can’t buy.”
Moratti perhaps also feels that a team strong enough to win the Champions League should not require heavy reinforcements.
Although Mascherano is back in training on Merseyside, Liverpool fans should not start buying new Mascherano shirts just yet. The Spanish press is murmuring that the player could now become a target for Barcelona, who lost Yaya Toure over the summer.
Rafael Benitez, a major player in the transfer window in the last few years, has been strangely quiet.
Inter Milan are 9/1 to retain the Champions League this season, behind Barcelona (3/1), Real Madrid (4/1), Manchester United and Chelsea (both 6/1).