Barca turn to Liverpool midfielder as competition hots up

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Spanish champions Barcelona have turned their attention to signing Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano after they conceded their chances of signing Cesc Fabregas have dwindled, according to the Metro.

Arsenal are holding out for around £50 million for their World Cup-winning captain, a fee Barca are unwilling to match.

Fabregas has made clear his desire to return to the club he played for as a kid but it is unlikely Arsene Wenger will allow him to leage the Emirates.

The Catalan club have now reportedly decided Argentine skipper Mascherano is their top transfer target, despite it seeming inevitable he will move to Inter Milan.

Mascherano was one of the few successful signings made by former Reds boss Rafael Benitez and the Spaniard is keen to be reunited with the former West Ham player.

Inter’s sporting director Marco Branca did not rule out a deal for Mascherano today, saying: “I can say that he is a great player.

“There are good players that we can take and others that cannot be taken. It depends from the requests of the clubs.

“Our image has grown a lot on a global level and the champions want to play for us,” he added.

Furthermore, Nerazzuri captain Javier Zanetti admitted to Sky Italia he would love his compatriot to move to the San Siro.

“He's a great player, who wins back a lot of balls," he told Sky Italia. "He would be well suited to Inter,” he said.

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