Lionel Messi has reportedly told his countryman and clubmate Javier Mascherano to quit Barcelona according to a report in Daily Star. Mascherano who has struggled for form and fitness and has found his opportunities limited as Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique have formed a formidable partnership at the back for Barcelona. With the World Cup in the summer, Mascherano can’t afford to be on the bench as he remains vital for his country Argentina.
It remains to be seen whether Ernesto Valverde will let the Argentine leave as Barcelona don’t have very good backup options at central defence. Samuel Umtiti is out for sometime with an injury and the only other backup Barcelona have is Thomas Vermaelen. But Valverde chose to play Busquets in defence against Sporting which shows us that Vermaelen who has rarely featured for the first team in his Barcelona career doesn’t inspire any confidence. So the only way for Barcelona to let Mascherano leave in January is if they find an adequate replacement.