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Napoli Preparing Audacious Swap Bid For Javier Mascherano

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According to 'Tutto Napoli', Rafa Benitez is readying an audacious swap bid for FC Barcelona centre-half Javier Mascherano

David Ramos

Javier Mascherano may be a regular starter in the FC Barcelona defense, and has won countless titles with the Blaugrana, but there are still rumours linking the Argentine defender with a move away from the Camp Nou, with his former manager, Rafa Benitez said to be interested in securing his services, should El Jefecito leave Catalunya. For journalists, it's an easy rumour to publish -- the pair have worked together before to good effect, and Naples has proven to be an attractive destination for successful Argentine footballers -- but are there any truth to these reports?

And more specifically, is there any truth to the latest report published by 'Tutto Napoli' and relayed by Diario Sport, which claims that Rafa Benitez is preparing an audacious swap bid for Mascherano, in which Colombian utility man Juan Camilo Zuniga would be offered to the Blaugrana?

Somewhat optimistically, the report claims that Zuniga has a market value of €30 million, which dwarfs the €20 million that Javier Mascherano is said to be valued at; so in this particular report, it appears to be a good deal. Apart from it really isn't.

For all those unfamiliar, Zuniga is almost like a Colombian version of Adriano -- only less versatile and, in my opinion at least, a whole lot worse. At 28 years of age, he is hardly an up-and-coming talent, and given that one of his strongest attributes is his speed, Zuniga has arguably already reached his peak. Certainly he offers no improvement over our current crop of left-sided players -- and if utilised at full-back, the Colombian would only block the development of uber-talented left-back, Alejandro Grimaldo.

And that's without considering just how important a role Mascherano plays in this squad...so if it's all the same, I think I'd pass.