Hebei China Fortune have confirmed that they only paid €5.55 million for Javier Mascherano, refuting reports in Spain that the Barcelona veteran cost them €10 million.
It was revealed earlier this month, Manuel Pellegrini’s side are reluctant to pay more than €5.77 million, which would trigger a 100 per cent levy on the payment for the transfer.
Following protracted negotiations, they eventually managed to convince the Blaugrana to accept a fee that kept them under that mark.
“Transfer dealings are no different than doing normal business. Just like shopping in a market,” club general manager Fu Qiang told China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.
“A thing is priced at ¥10 (Chinese Yuan), but you consider only paying ¥8 to buy it. There is alway the need to drive a hard bargain in negotiations, and that’s why the final transfer fee is €5.55 million.
“The main challenge facing us was the departure time of Mascherano. We signed the contract on Dec. 23 last year, but Barcelona insisted they won’t let him leave until Jan. 25.
“Mascherano played two games shortly afterwards and it posed a grave risk for us. If he suffered an injury, it would be a big loss to our club.
“Fortunately, both Barcelona and Mascherano showed their willingness to cooperate with us and prepared various contingency plans. The negotiation went quite well.
“Argentina coach [Jorge Sampaoli] strongly supports Mascherano’s move to China. And he hopes that both Mascherano and Lavezzi keep up their good form and be named in their World Cup squad. That’s what Mascherano told me today,” concluded Fu.
Mascherano has said farewell to Barcelona, where he played 334 times after joining in August 2010, at a ceremony on Wednesday.
He will link up with his Hebei team-mates on Friday at their winter training camp in Marbella