A Chinese side have been linked with a move for a €700m star, while the cost of Chelsea potentially sacking Antonio Conte has been revealed, according to Thursday’s European papers.
CHINA LINKS FOR MESSI
Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune are hopeful of landing Barcelona star Lionel Messi, reports in Spain claim.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Hebei made contact with Barca a year ago for the Argentine, with the approach instantly rejected.
However, they now claim that the Chinese side have once again initiated contact, with the hope that the 30-year-old can be convinced to move East.
If he were to leave, Messi would join former team-mate and countryman Javier Mascherano, while another Argentine in Ezequiel Lavezzi – formerly of Paris Saint-Germain – is already on their books.
Former Real Madrid Coach Manuel Pellegrini coaches the club, and it is thought that a bid to meet Messi’s €700m release clause at the Camp Nou is not possible.
CONTE TO EARN HUGE PAY-OFF IF CHELSEA AXE FALLS
Antonio Conte could reportedly get a pay-off of €30million if he is axed by Chelsea.
The reigning Premier League champions have been strongly tipped to sack the Italian, with the Blues struggling badly in their attempts to defend their title.
A 4-1 hammering at Watford on Monday night led to speculation that Conte would be sacked within days but those reports have since bee played down.
However, Sport claims that Roman Roman Abramovich will hand the former Italy national boss a mammoth pay-off if he does indeed look to part ways.
Former Barca boss Luis Enrique has been strongly tipped to take over the Stamford Bridge hotseat if Chelsea do decide that they need a change at the top.
REAL MADRID TRIO ON MOURINHO’S SUMMER SHOPPING LIST
Jose Mourinho has told Manchester United they must demand their pick of three Real Madrid stars this summer should the La Liga giants make a fresh approach for David De Gea.
Word is growing in Spain that Real are plotting a fresh move for United’s No 1 – with Cristiano Ronaldo adding fuel to the fire by suggesting they should go all out to sign him this summer.
While United will fight to keep the man widely regarded as the world’s best keeper, Mourinho will try to fight fire with fire by handing the club a list of the three men they should demand to have as part of the negotiations.
Of the three, Mourinho is most keen to land France defender Varane, having worked wth him during his Madrid days.
The report suggests Varane could be sacrificed by Real to help get the De Gea deal over the line with club president Florentino Perez unimpressed by his displays.
However, Zinedine Zidane remains a fan of the Frenchman and will fight to keep him, despite their interest in De Gea.
Meanwhile, reports in Spain also claim Asensio has told Perez he wants to leave the Bernabeu this summer and sees himself in the Premier League.
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AND THE REST
Brazil midfielder Fred will snub Manchester United and join Manchester City for €55million (£48m), according to former Shakhtar Donetsk manager Mircea Lucescu (Calciomercato)
Arsenal are stepping up their efforts to sign Jan Oblak this summer having opened tentative talks over a deal – but Atletico Madrid are adamant he won’t leave for a penny less than his £88.7 million release clause (Don Balon)
Real Madrid will not move for either Mauricio Pochettino or Massimiliano Allegri this summer – because a deal to appoint Joachim Low as Zinedine Zidane’s successor has already been agreed (Mundo Deportivo)
Manchester City saw a late bid worth as much as £22m for Lille’s teen star Boubakary Soumare fail on the transfer deadline day (Le 10 Sport)
Thibaut Courtois is top of Real Madrid’s wish list for a goalkeeper this summer, with De Gea and Jan Oblak their second and third choices (AS)
Chelsea are poised to beat Liverpool to the possible signing of Luis Suarez this summer amid claims he could become the high-profile victim of Antoine Griezmann’s arrival at the Nou Camp (El Transistor)
Juventus will make a surprise move to beat Real Madrid to €110million-rated for Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi at the end of the season (Tuttosport)
Antonio Conte has found an unlikely ally in Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde who has given his support to the under-pressure Chelsea boss
Former Barcelona captain Xavi believes Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti is at a similar level to him at his peak (Marca)
Juventus will either sign Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian or Valencia’s Jose Gaya in the summer (Tuttosport)
Italy interim boss Gigi Di Biagio will hand Mario Balotelli a recall for their friendly games with Argentina and England (Corriere dello Sport)
Lille captain Ibrahim Amadou insists he is committed to the Ligue 1 club after a January move to West Ham and Crystal Palace failed to materialise (L’Equipe)
Olympiakos goalkeeper Stefanos Kapino is set to sign for Nottingham Forest on a free transfer
Real Madrid will join Man City and Arsenal in the summer race to sign Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez (Don Balon)
Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe has dismissed talk of Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘decline’ and is wary of him ahead of the Champions League tie (Marca)
PSG are interested in signing Nicolas Nkoulou of Torino (Tuttosport)
AC Milan are tracking Sampdoria full-back Ivan Strinic, Rossoneri director of football Massimiliano Mirabelli (RMC Sport)