Javier Mascherano is enjoying perhaps his best season in a Barcelona shirt yet. The Argentinean is an integral piece of Luis Enrique's scheme, and only the 'MSN' trio has more minutes than The Sheriff under the Asturian manager.
Mascherano's ability to become a truly world-class central defender when he transitioned from a midfield role after arriving at the Catalan club is truly remarkable, and Javier is right there among the very best center-backs on the planet, without a doubt. Interestingly enough, the 31-year-old has never been truly pursued by other teams in the transfer market. Until now.
According to reports in Spain, Barcelona and Mascherano have just turned down a huge €50 million transfer offer from a Chinese Super League club this week, with the player clearly stating he wants to stay in Europe and does not plan a big-money move to a lower league in the peak of his career.
That doesn't mean Masche is guaranteed to stay at Barça. More reports claim that Serie A champions Juventus have submitted a formal bid to the Catalan club last week, and that is one offer that all parties are considering, sources say.
There are only three choices for Mascherano's future: staying at Barça, coming back to River Plate in Argentina or a move to Italy. He does not want a return to England despite interest from Premier League clubs, but Juventus might be a club he would be tempted to join.
Mascherano has two years left in his Barça contract with a player option for an extra year, but there are no plans to sign an extension in the near future. Juve's offer is a big one, and the Catalan club wouldn't mind selling if that's what the player wants. Luis Enrique obviously is against one of his biggest assets leaving, and Javier seems adamant that he wants to be a Blaugrana next season.
But with Barcelona's public chase of defenders reaching a happy ending with the imminent signing of Paris Saint-Germain's Marquinhos, we never know if Mascherano would feel uncertain about his minutes and look to play for the Italian powerhouse.
As of now, Masche is going nowhere, but Juventus is officially interested.