Lionel Messi has reportedly advised Barcelona to do all they can to sign Leon Gortezka ahead of a series of Premier League suitors.
The Schalke star is about to enter the final six months of his contract at the Veltins Arena and will be able to negotiate a free transfer move overseas from January 1.
The likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have all been heavily linked with the Germany midfielder, while there is rival Bundesliga interest from Bayern Munich.
Barcelona have also been linked with Goretzka and the club’s talisman Messi has reportedly told club bosses to go on a charm offensive to lure Goretzka to the Nou Camp.
According to Diario Gol, Messi has asked the club’s hierarchy to act quickly to sign Goretzka, with the outlet suggesting Messi sees the German as the most natural heir to the ageing Andres Iniesta.
The Spanish maestro will turn 34 next year and finding his successor in midfield is very much at the forefront of coach Ernesto Valverde’s mind. And it seems Messi believes that Goretzka, who despite only being 22, already has the characteristics required to succeed at the Nou Camp.
Although nothing has been confirmed, the player admitted earlier this month that a decision on his future is imminent: “I have to find out for myself what the next step should be,” he said.
“I have to consider a million things. I am a person who is very meticulous in such decisions. I play through all the scenarios. So I need time.
The best Gunners news direct to your Facebook timeline: Like our dedicated Arsenal Facebook page.
“There doesn’t exist a deadline, but I think we are in the final phase. The final decision will be made in January.”