Barcelona to move ahead in race for Javier Mascherano with bid of £15m plus Aliaksandr Hleb - report

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Barcelona are set to step up their pursuit of Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano this week with a bid of £15 million plus Aliaksandr Hleb.

Former Arsenal midfielder Hleb has been told by coach Pep Guardiola that he does not form part of his plans this year and will need to find a new club.

Aston Villa and AC Milan have been amongst a whole host of clubs in Europe following Hleb's situation, but according to The Sunday People, Hleb and his family prefer a return to England.

Argentina skipper Mascherano revealed this week that he wishes to quit Anfield and looked set for a reunion with former boss Rafa Benitez at Inter.

However, following Inter's failure to do business, Guardiola has moved into pole position to land the former West Ham man.

Compatriot Lionel Messi believes that Mascherano would be an excellent addition to the Barcelona squad and told reporters: "El Jefecito ['The Boss'] would be excellent at Barca. He has the quality to play for Barcelona and his character would fit into the squad."

Meanwhile, Barcelona are chasing another Argentine in the shape of Carlos Tevez, and look set to test Manchester City's resolve by offering Zlatan Ibrahimovic in any deal taking Tevez to the Nou Camp.

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