Mascherano set to sign new Barcelona deal - report

The former Liverpool midfielder has become an important player at the Blaugrana since his arrival two years ago and the club appear ready to reward him with improved terms
Javier Mascherano is close to signing a new contract with Barcelona, Sport claims.

The Argentina international has developed into an important first-team player at Camp Nou since his €22 million [£17m] transfer from Liverpool in the summer of 2010, when he was originally drafted in as a midfield reinforcement following Yaya Toure's exit.

However, he was frequently deployed as a centre-back in his second season at Barca, and it is now understood that he will commit his future to the club once he returns from holiday, having recently stated his willingness to extend his stay in Catalunya.

The 28-year-old's agent, Walter Tamer, reportedly received positive signs from sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta during a first meeting in May, and was told that everything would be sorted out before the start of the new campaign.

According to the publication, Mascherano will add a further two years on to his contract with the Blaugrana, which presently expires in 2014.