River Plate manager Enzo Francescoli and club president Rodolfo D'Onofrio have sounded out Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano about a return to the club where he started his career.
The Argentina international is intent on leaving the Camp Nou but the economic side of the operation may be an issue for Los Millonarios with Barça wanting between eight and 10 million euros for the 33-year-old and River only able to offer in the region of three million, which is a significant outlay for the club given the purchasing power of the peso.
Mascherano World Cup priority
Chinese Super League club Hebei Fortune are also waiting in the wings and are willing to offer five million euros for El Jefecito and also have the bargaining chip of Mascherano’s former international teammate Ezequiel Lavezzi, who has called on the defender to make the plunge into the CSL.
Macherano is eager to find a club where he will be guaranteed playing time with only six months to go until the World Cup, which will in all likelihood be his last major international tournament. Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli has made it clear that his squad for Russia will be made up of players who have been active at club level in the run-up to the tournament and the January arrival of Yerry Mina will further reduce Mascherano's options.