Benitez coy over Mascherano

Napoli coach Rafael Benitez has not ruled out a move for Barcelona's Argentina international Javier Mascherano.

The Spaniard worked with midfielder-come-defender Mascherano during his spell at Liverpool, and speculation has arisen that Benitez could be interested in bringing his former player to the Stadio San Paolo.

When quizzed on the subject, Benitez refused to shed any light on the situation, but he did concede that Napoli need to strengthen in the close-season.

"Mascherano? He is a great player, but I do not like to talk about it now because he is still at Barcelona and has to try to win something with his club," he told Piunne's Casa Napoli programme.

"The difficulty now is in taking the next step. We are at a high level, but we still face the most difficult step.

"Trying to stay at this level and going higher is not easy. We will try and this is important.

"We are trying to create a structure. A strong squad and a structure behind it will allow us to win.

"We know that we need players with different characteristics to those in the squad. Henrique and (Faouzi) Ghoulam have given us greater balance in defence and even given us greater security in the air."