Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano could be on his way back to the Premier League - with Manchester United.
The Daily Star has reported that the Red Devils are looking to sign the Argentinean, who is surplus to requirements at Barcelona, with incoming boss Louis Van Gaal keen on the midfield enforcer.
With the Dutchman to be given a £200 million transfer kitty, one area he would like to strengthen is the defensive midfield position.
Mascherano was identified as a potential casualty of Barcelona’s summer clearout, along with 12 other first team stars and has stated that a return to the Premier League would be his preference.
He certainly has experience at the highest level, having played at Europe’s top table for a number of years with Barça.
Mascherano can provide some versatility, having featured regularly at centre back, a position that also needs to be filled with Nemanja Vidic’s impending departure.
However it is his abilities as a defensive midfielder which may appeal to Van Gaal. The Argentina captain is tenacious, a tough tackler, a leader with bags of experience, and above all a winner, having spent four fruitful seasons in Spain.
Moreover the 29-year-old is proven in the Premier League, having spent four seasons in England, of which three were on Merseyside.
His qualities may be conducive to Van Gaal style of play, sitting in the middle of a midfield trio and breaking up play and allowing the creative and attacking players to flourish, something Marouane Fellani has proved unable to do thus far.
The Belgian, who has disappointed in his first season at Old Trafford, has had little to offer both defensively and offensively and is unlikely to be a first choice player next season.
With Alex Song and William Carvalho also on Manchester United’s radar, it is clear that the holding midfield position is one they are keen to reinforce. And Mascherano may prove to be the cheaper option.
Should Manchester United make a move, they will not have to shell out anywhere near the £17 million Barcelona paid for his services in 2010. Even as a rotation option, his experience and adaptability are an asset to any squad.
With his ties to Liverpool, some Manchester United fans would reject the notion of Mascherano coming anywhere near the club. But at the right price, he could prove to be a shrewd signing.
What do you think Manchester United fans? Does Mascherano represent value for money, or should Manchester United look elsewhere? Let us know your thoughts below.