Barcelona’s players have switched their attentions from Cesc Fabregas to Javier Mascherano as Lionel Messi urged his side to snap up his compatriot.
The Catalan side were involved in a long-running saga when they targeted Arsenal skipper Fabregas as their big summer signing, a pursuit that was ended after it became clear the Gunners did not want to sell.
A number of Barca players spoke in the press of their desire to see the Spaniard in the colours of Barca, including Messi himself.
Now, though, the current World Player of the Year has decided he will take the lead and call for Argentina’s captain to make the move to the Spanish champions.
Mascherano has already told new Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson he would like to quit Anfield – with Inter Milan, now managed by Rafael Benitez, his preferred destination.
However, last week Inter president Massimo Moratti admitted the European champions cannot afford the £25 million the Reds are demanding.
Now, with Barca desperate to sign a ready-made replacement for Yaya Toure, Mascherano could end up in Spain, and Messi would be delighted to see his friend join.
He said: “The "little captain" would be a great boost for Barca. He has the quality to play for Barcelona and his character would fit in perfectly at the club.”