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Javier Mascherano To Stay At Barcelona

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After a year of torturous rumors, we can finally put the idea of Javier Mascherano leaving Barcelona for Napoli to rest.

David Ramos

There's been one transfer related story that just hasn't gone away since pretty much the moment Rafa Benitez signed on to be Napoli's manager. That being the "inevitable" transfer of Javier Mascherano from Barcelona, a story that's been mentioned at least once a week for the last year.

Last summer's transfer window came and went, and no deal materialized despite constant nattering that it was "imminent" and "just needed details to be hammered out." The fall featured more talk about dealings "continuing" and that Mascherano was "a certainty" to join in the winter window. That didn't happen either, but that didn't keep the rumor mongers from acting like it was going to, or talking up a deal all spring long.

Now it looks like the deal is finally, blissfully, dead. Assuming it was ever alive in the first place.

A variety of Spanish outlets have reported today that Mascherano recently met with new Barcelona manager Luis Enrique, as well as the club's president and sporting director. The trio were apparently able to convince him of his importance to the club and convinces him to stay, which hopefully means that we'll soon stop hearing his name connected with Napoli every twenty minutes.

Some of the reports even go so far as to indicate that Mascherano's "loyalty" will be rewarded with a shiny new contract, which is likely what his agent was angling for all along. His existing deal has two years left on it, putting him at about the point of "extend or move." Given that Barcelona can offer him higher wages than Napoli and they regularly push to win approximately all of the trophies ever made, staying put was always the more reasonable option for Masherano if he was wanted, which he clearly is.

Who's going to take his incessant rumors crown? My bet's going with Maxime Gonalons.