Barca coach Guard-ed over Masch

Liverpool hardman Mascherano was left out of the Reds squad for

their 3-0 defeat at Manchester City on Monday night and appears to

be on the verge of a move to the Nou Camp. And Guardiola admitted

the Catalans are interested. “I will speak about him when he’s here

– if he comes,” the Barca coach said in a press conference on

Tuesday. Guardiola, however, refused to reveal whether a deal is

close. “You’ll have to ask (sporting director Andoni) Zubizarreta,”

he said. But the Barca coach did admit he is keen to sign a

defensive midfielder before the transfer window closes, and says

the signing of such a player would complete the team for the new

season. “If a defensive midfielder arrives the needs of the team

will be resolved. If one arrives I will be satisfied,” he said. One

player set to depart in the next few days is striker Zlatan

Ibrahimovic, with AC Milan reported to be close to agreeing a deal

for the former Inter Milan forward. The deal to bring Ibrahimovic

to the Nou Camp last summer saw Samuel Eto’o go the other way and

cost the Spanish side around 66million euros (just over

£54million) in total. Barca are now set to take a big loss on

the player who failed to shine in his first season at the Nou Camp,

but Guardiola says he has no regrets about the switch. “I don’t

regret the exchange with Eto’o. You can’t go back on the decisions

you make,” he said. Meanwhile, former Arsenal midfielder Alexander

Hleb is set to leave either permanently or on loan this season,

along with youth product Victor Sanchez and Uruguay defender Martin

Caceres. “We’ll have to find a way out for Hleb, Caceres and Victor

Sanchez because if they stay, they will not take part very much,”

Guardiola said. Barcelona face Milan in the Gamper trophy on

Wednesday night, with Ronaldinho set to return to the club where he

played the best football of his career. “Ronaldinho’s smile changed

Barca,” Guardiola said. “Few teams can dignify our trophy like

Milan.”