TRANSFER NEWS: Barcelona confirm Javier Mascherano will leave the club for China as they promise to host a leaving ceremony

Argentine international headed to the Chinese Super League this month after he has spent seven-and-a-half successful seasons at the Nou Camp Leaving ceremony for the player will be held on Wednesday No 14 shirt is up for grabs and could be taken by newcomer Philippe Couthinho.

Barcelona have confirmed that Javier Mascherano is set to leave the club, with the Argentina midfielder set for a move to the Chinese Super League.

The 33-year-old had been heavily linked with a move to Hebei China Fortune this month, as the sun sets on his seven-and-a-half seasons at the Nou Camp.

And his club confirmed the upcoming switch on Tuesday, releasing a statement to announce a leaving ceremony for Mascherano on Wednesday.

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The statement read: ‘Javier Mascherano is leaving FC Barcelona after seven and a half seasons.

‘The Argentinian will be receiving an institutional farewell from the club on Wednesday at 11am ( 10am GMT) in the Auditori 1899, at an event that will be streamed on the club website.

‘It will be attended by club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the first team squad.’

CRUFF AND THE NO. 14

Johan Cruyff was synonymous with the No 14 shirt.

While he did not wear it for Barcelona, he wore it for both Ajax and the Dutch national team — much to the frustration of the Dutch FA in an age when teams were supposed to stick to numbers one through eleven.

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Ajax retired the number back in 2007 in recognition of Cruyff’s services.

Mascherano won four La Liga titles during his time at Barcelona, and lifted the Champions League twice, too.

He joined from Liverpool in 2010, and another star recently making the switch from Anfield to Catalonia could be set to benefit from his departure to China.

Philippe Coutinho is yet to have his shirt number confirmed by the Blaugrana and is thought he could be set to inherit the No 14 vacated by Mascherano, a number synonymous with another Barcelona legend.

Johan Cruyff wore the number while on international duty with Holland, and while he never pulled on the No 14 for Barca, due to their insistence during his playing days of wearing only one to eleven, the appearance of the number on the back of Coutinho’s shirt would resonate with all fans.

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The Brazilian has yet to be assigned a number since completing his £145million deal earlier this month.

It was thought he could be allocated the No 7 shirt after Arda Turan joined Istanbul Basaksehir earlier this month, however it was reported that is being held for Antoine Griezmann, who is expected to be Barcelona’s top summer transfer target.

Philippe Coutinho could inherit the No 14 from Mascherano, a number synonymous with Cruyff.

– MailOnline

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