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Report: Barcelona starting defender considering departure as Arsenal, Juventus submit offers

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Barcelona will be a busy team in the upcoming transfer window, and some big names be coming in while other big names might be heading out.

According to reports in Spain, starting center-back Javier Mascherano is considering a departure from the Catalan club this summer. After years of great service, the Argentinean is thinking about a change of scenery, and more important, of position. Mascherano is a center-back at Barça, but his natural spot is a little bit further up the pitch, as a defensive midfielder. For various reasons, he can't play that position at Barça, and he might be looking for a place where he can be a pivote.

A player of Mascherano's caliber has no shortage of suitors, and if the reports are accurate, two European giants have already submitted offers: Serie A champions Juventus, who have agreed a free transfer for Barça full-back Dani Alves, are looking for a defensive midfielder to replace Claudio Marchisio, who is out injured and will only return in 2017. Reports in Italy claim that Masche and Juve already have a three-year personal deal in place.

Arsene Wenger is rebuilding his midfield at Arsenal, and after landing Swiss star Granit Xhaka, he is looking for a replacement to Mikel Arteta, who retired from football this season. Mascherano has all the qualities Wenger would look for, and since the Arsenal manager is obsessed with Barça players, he would definitely love to have El Jefecito in his squad.

However, as sources have told Barça Blaugranes, the Catalan giants have absolutely zero interest in selling the player. With Marc Bartra and Thomas Vermaelen leaving this summer, the team will have less options in the center of defense, and even if they do sign another center-back, they want to have Mascherano on the team to serve as mentor to the young prospect who's likely to join this summer. He is still starter quality, and is on the short list of best defenders on Earth.

Naturally, Barça don't want to lose him, and will reject any offers. But if Masche makes the decision and hands in a transfer request, then maybe things could change.

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