The Barcelona defender has long been expected to make a winter move to China.

By 90Min
January 17, 2018

Javier Mascherano is expected to leave Barcelona next week after his side's Copa del Rey clash with Espanyol, Football Espana have reported.

The Argentine defender will join Hebei China Fortune in a training camp in Marbella following what will be his final Blaugrana appearance.

Mascherano was reportedly determined to leave Barcelona this month having fallen down the pecking order under Ernesto Valverde.

The 33-year-old has seen Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique regularly occupying the center back positions, leaving him watching on the sidelines.

Mascherano's current deal at the Nou Camp runs until 2019, but Hebei China Fortune have offered him a deal worth €7m a year.

The former Liverpool man has also seen his season disrupted by injuries, while the signing of Colombian defender Yerry Mina from Palmeiras is another indication that his future lies elsewhere.

Mascherano will join up with former Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini at Hebei China Fortune, as well as ex-Sevilla midfielder Stephane Mbia, former Arsenal winger Gervinho and Ezequiel Lavezzi.

The Chinese Super League club agreed a fee with Barcelona of €10m after protracted negotiations between the two clubs.

Mascherano is said to be searching for more first team football as he looks to earn his place in the Argentina squad for this summer's World Cup.

He is expected to play for a year in China before returning to Argentina to finish his career in his homeland.

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