The Liverpool midfielder is aware of continuing interest from Barcelona and is just as keen on linking up with his former manager Rafa Benitez at Inter Milan.
Fresh challenge: Javier Mascherano
Increasingly concerned at an apparent deadlock over engineering a transfer to either club, he is preparing to hand Roy Hodgson his first major test as Liverpool boss by asking for a move.
Even if it is viewed sympathetically, the Argentina captain could find himself priced out of both clubs' reach, after it emerged Liverpool are likely to value him at a prohibitive £30m.
Benitez may offer Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari in part-exchange, but it would still take a cash adjustment of at around £20m to push a deal through.
It is clear Mascherano could start a season under a cloud at Anfield for a second year running.
Denied a move to the Nou Camp 12 months ago, Mascherano eventually knuckled down and became one of Liverpool's more consistent performers, but only after brooding over what he viewed as a missed opportunity. He is in danger of losing out again, with Barcelona encountering financial problems.
One of his advisers, Marco Piccioli, said: 'I know Mascherano and Benitez have a great relationship, but sometimes that is not enough. A deal (with Inter) can only happen towards the last part of the transfer market. That is my vision, at least.'
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