Well, this is turning into an interesting back half of the week. Today FC Barcelona announced on its official site that the club has reached a deal with Liverpool to buy Argentine MF Javier Mascherano assuming proper medical clearance and all that jazz. Terms are being reported differently everywhere, ranging from 25M euros to 21M + 3M in incentives to 16 + 3 and so on and so forth. All seem to agree that Mascherano will sign a 4-year deal with the club following medicals, photo-ops, and pledging allegiance to Lord Pep.
I like this deal for a few reasons. The most obvious of which is that we need MF depth, specifically to help out with the defense as we were relying solely on Busquets to buoy the DM position, and failing that, Pique or Keita. Now we have a bona fide DM to stick in as depth, but he can also fill in at other midfield positions in a pinch. A team that is likely going to play 65+ games this season is going to have to have more than one DM, and now we have two that could start.
The key here, and I am sure Pep has already laid this one out, is Masch knowing that he is not going to be the first starter here, Busquets is. And nor should he be at this point, he will have had zero days experience in the club before the Racing game, which he won’t play in. This won’t kill his chances to get a good start, but it will hinder him in some ways, meaning he will come along slowly most likely. This is not a problem, it’s to be expected.
He doesn’t score a lot of goals because he’s not expected to, scoring only 4 goals in his international and club careers combined. He is however a solid leader for Argentina (and Liverpool), serving as the captain through the shit storm that has been the last 4 years for the Albiceleste. Notwithstanding the back line collapse that was Argentina’s final World Cup game against Germany, Masch played well, serving as the only defensive stopgap the team had.
What he does do is fight. Figuratively, sometimes literally, but he’s a fighter. He doesn’t let people run over his teammates and has shown a predilection to fight for Messi when he gets knocked down for Argentina. He won’t allow any of our guys to get knocked down repeatedly and will fight with any opposing player we have. He’s short, but he controls well and is great with crosses.
He’s not perfect, but he’s the depth we needed. People should not be down on this after losing Yaya. Yaya did not want to be here and play under our terms, Mascherano does, and that’s what we need. We could not make it through with one DM all year and Romeu simply is not ready right now. In a couple of years, I think he will be. We will have more and update you more when we are sure. Check out Kevin’s short post with a Masch video if you’d like.