Napoli interested in Arsenal defender and ex-Liverpool player

Napoli are looking to make moves for Arsenal's Bacary Sagna and Barcelona's Javier Mascherano in the summer.

Bacary Sagna's future remains up in the air at Arsenal. The club have said they want to keep him beyond this season when his contract ends, but the Frenchman has not been happy with contract talks so far and is said to have plenty of admirers.

Arsenal don't tend to offer long-term contracts to players over 30 and Sagna will be turning 31 in a week's time. Galatasaray, Fenerbache, Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco and Napoli amongst others are interested in the right-back. Foreign clubs can discuss pre-contract details with Sagna now if they want to and there's nothing to stop him agreeing a deal well before the season is up.

Sagna has resisted approaches in the past and feels as if he should be rewarded for that. At his age he probably has one last big payday in him and he knows that. He has been on the same wageat Arsenal for a number of year and has seen others jump ship such as Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song, and Robin Van Persie.

Goal reports that Rafa Benitez would love to add Sagna to his squad as he looks at strengthening his defence. However it is thought that Napoli would not be able to offer as lucrative of a basic wage as The Gunners but would include plenty of bonuses in the deal and also make it a long-term contract. Benitez would particularly like to add Sagna's experience to his backline and is also looking at Alex from PSG.

Javier Mascherano is another player to have caught Rafa's eye. He of course managed him at Liverpool and the Argentinian excelled after a mixed spell at West Ham United.

Mascherano has frequently been used in defence at Barcelona but it is thought Napoli would use him in his more comfortable central midfield position. However the asking price could be a stumbling block for The Partenopei, with Barca looking at a fee of £17 million should Mascherano enjoy a good World Cup with Argentina.

Mascherano holds an Italian passport which is ideal for Napoli as then they wouldn't have to register him as one of the club's two permitted places for non-European Union signings. With Barcelona continually linked with targeting new defensive reinforcements, he could find himself down the pecking order and a move to Napoli would be ideal. 

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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