Barcelona Agrees to Sign Liverpool's Mascherano; May Trade Ibrahimovic

Barcelona agreed to sign Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano and may trade striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to AC Milan for as much as 40 million euros ($50.8 million).

Mascherano will travel to Barcelona this weekend and sign a four-year contract provided he passes a medical test, the Spanish soccer champion said on its Web site. Barcelona will pay Liverpool 22 million euros for the Argentina captain, sports newspaper Marca reported.

Ibrahimovic yesterday asked for a day to think over a move to AC Milan after the teams agreed to a fee, newspaper As and other Spanish media said. Ibrahimovic joined Barcelona from Inter Milan for 66 million euros last year.

AC Milan chief executive officer Adriano Galliani said his team and Barcelona were in agreement “on all the numbers,” according to comments on Milan’s website. Milan director Umberto Gandini said in an interview the transfer is “nearly done” and may be announced on Aug. 30.

If the deal doesn’t go through, Milan will target Manchester City playmaker Robinho, Galliani said. The transfer period ends Aug. 31.

Mascherano, 26, missed last night’s game against Trabzonspor in Turkey, which Liverpool won 2-1 to secure a place in the Europa League group stages. He was also omitted from the 3-0 Premier League loss to Manchester City four days ago because he “wasn’t in the right frame of mind,” Reds coach Roy Hodgson said after the match.

Family Reasons

Mascherano last month told team officials of his desire to leave the U.K. for family reasons. He joined Liverpool from West Ham 3 1/2 years ago. Hodgson is likely to seek a replacement, team secretary Ian Sylvestor said.

“I’m sure Roy wouldn’t want one of his top players to leave without anyone coming in,” Sylvestor said.

Sweden’s Ibrahimovic, 28, scored 21 goals in 41 games for Barcelona last season. Barcelona signed Spain national team striker David Villa from Valencia for 40 million euros in May after failing to defend its Champions League title.

Milan’s Galliani also said the club is in talks about transferring striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar to another team, without giving more details, but would keep Marco Borriello, another forward. The Daily Mirror newspaper reported Tottenham Hotspur is in talks to sign Huntelaar on a season-long loan.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Duff in Madrid at aduff4@bloomberg.net. Dan Baynes in Sydney at dbaynes@bloomberg.net

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