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Liverpool to launch bid for Marseille firebrand Ben Arfa

Liverpool are ready to swoop for Marseille midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa.

The Daily Star says Roy Hodgson wants to replace Javier Mascherano before the transfer window closes and Marseille's £7m-rated midfielder Ben Arfa is his top target. The new Anfield boss and his backroom staff are seething with Mascherano over his behaviour.

And they are prepared to tough it out if Barcelona do not meet their valuation. But Mascherano is believed to have already agreed a £5m-a-year wages deal with Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, who, according to reports, has spoken directly to the midfielder.

Werder Bremen have already made an offer for Ben Arfa, who Newcastle tried to nab on loan earlier this summer. And the midfielder said last night: "I want to play in the Premier League because my time in the French Ligue has passed."

If Liverpool can get Barca to up their bid for ­Mascherano from £16m to £20m, then they could move swiftly for the 23-year-old Marseille star.

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