Barcelona announced on Thursday that Lionel Messi is a free agent after they could not negotiate a new contract with the Argentina star, but where will he be going?
LIONEL MESSI LATEST
Lionel Messi’s future is up in the air after the bombshell on Thursday night that he will be leaving Barcelona.
The Catalan giants revealed that the out-of-contract 34-year-old would end his stay at the Nou Camp after more than two decades. The two parties had agreed an extension, but were unable to formalise it because of LaLiga’s financial rules.
Joan Laporta is due to address the media on Friday after a tumultuous few hours in the club’s recent history which began with a statement on their official website on Thursday evening.
Already speculation is rife with RMC Sport and Sky Sport Italia reporting negotiations are underway between Paris Saint-Germain and Messi.
Apparently talks were underway for hours on Thursday night in a bid to push through a move in which the six-time Ballon d’Or winner would be reunited with former Barcelona team-mate Neymar.
PSG are though well aware that the drama around Barcelona’s announcement could be a tactic to pressure LaLiga around COVID-19 pandemic induced salary cap rules. So sources contacted by Get French Football News say PSG will have to strike quickly.
Spanish outlet Marca though have a different stance and report that a move to PSG is “looking impossible”.
They claim that “Man City are the favourites to sign him” but acknowledge City have just spent £100m on Jack Grealish and hold an interest in Harry Kane.
But Marca claim with “Kane’s deal far from done the Premier League champions already look to be changing their plans and turning their attention to Messi”.
“He’s an amazing talent , he’s somebody that can make a significant impact at any club in the world on and off the pitch immediately,” said Berrada
“He’s the best player in the world, he’s the best player of his generation. I think any club in the world would like to explore the possibility of him joining their team.
“The fact that it was commented that he wanted to come to play for City just shows you how far the team has come over the last years where the best talent of his generation and potentially saying he wants to come and play for us.”
The Manchester Evening News also claim Barcelona’s statement has “opened the door for a shock move” to Manchester City.
KANE KNOCK ON EFFECT
Messi’s availability could affect any potential move Manchester City were plotting for Tottenham and England striker Harry Kane, 27. (Express)
Paris St-Germain have immediately been linked with Messi, but the French capital is seen as just one possible destination for the in-demand Argentine. (Le Parisien)
Barcelona fans coming to terms with Lionel Messi’s departure are not convinced the “divorce” will last for too long. (Daily Mail)
PSG are seen as favourites to sign the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, but a move to the US to play Major League Soccer cannot be discounted. (Mail)
Romelu Lukaku’s proposed move back to Chelsea could be about to stall as Inter Milan chairman Steven Zhang wants to take his time before deciding whether he wants to sell the 28-year-old Belgium striker. (Gazzetta dello Sport)
Chelsea are expected to complete a move to bring Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge by the weekend after offering Inter a deal worth £95m and add-ons for the forward. (Mail)
Manchester United remain keen on signing England defender Kieran Trippier, but Atletico Madrid are refusing to budge on their £34m asking price for the 30-year-old. (Sun)
France centre-back Raphael Varane, 28, has arrived in England to finalise his move to Manchester United from Real Madrid, with the defender set to complete a period of quarantine before having a medical. (Fabrizio Romano)
Arsenal have made a bid of about £17m for Lazio’s Argentina striker Joaquin Correa, 26, which is “considered inadequate” by the Rome club. (Corriere dello Sport)
Southampton have enquired about signing Tammy Abraham, 23, on loan from Chelsea as they begin their search for a replacement for fellow England striker Danny Ings, 29, who joined Aston Villa earlier this week. (talkSPORT)
Arsenal are plotting to sign English goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and Norway midfielder Sander Berge from Sheffield United, but a combined bid of £50m may not be enough to land the 23-year-old pair. (Star)
Lyon’s French midfielder Houssem Aouar, 23, is holding out for a move to Arsenal this summer. (Sun)
Leicester City are to step up their hunt for a new centre-back after France Under-21 defender Wesley Fofana, 20, suffered a broken leg during Wednesday’s friendly match against Villarreal. (Sky Sports)
Tottenham are set to make a £17m bid for 22-year-old Bologna and Japan defender Takehiro Tomiyasu. (Football Insider)
Jose Mourinho’s Roma have been linked with a move for Fulham’s 25-year-old Cameroon midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, who would cost the Serie A club about £21m. (Gazzetta dello Sport, via Sport Witness)
Brentford are close to signing 24-year-old Congo winger Yoane Wissa from French club Lorient. (Sky Sports)
PALACE CHASE ARMSTRONG
Crystal Palace are in advanced talks with Blackburn over a deal for 24-year-old English striker Adam Armstrong, who is valued at about £20m. (Sky Sports)
Palace lead the race for Armstrong’s signature, despite having an initial offer rejected and Norwich City, Southampton and Watford all making bids of their own. (Mail)
Real Madrid are reported to have “closed the door” on Martin Odegaard leaving the club this summer because of injury concerns over fellow midfielder Toni Kroos. (Daily Mirror)
Jose Mourinho could come back to haunt Tottenham with his new club AS Roma ready to make their move for potential Spurs target Mikkel Damsgaard of Sampdoria. (Daily Mirror)
EVERTON TO POUNCE FOR RONDON
Everton are ready to pounce for striker Salomon Rondon if his stay in the Chinese Super League with Rafa Benitez’s former side Dalian Pro is cut short for financial reasons. (Sun)
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is trying to offload fringe players, including Ross Barkley and Danny Drinkwater, as they have little chance of making his Premier League squad. (Sun)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says his new contract means nothing if he cannot deliver this season. (Sun)
Liverpool received a £2m transfer boost thanks to a sell-on clause in Danny Ings’ contract. (Sun)
Paul Pogba is set to start the season as part of Manchester United’s first-team squad despite rejecting a contract offer amid interest from PSG. (Daily Mail)
Leeds United goalkeeper Ilan Meslier has revealed he snubbed the chance to join Chelsea as a teenager back in 2018, a year before his arrival at Elland Road. (Daily Mail)
Kylian Mbappe’s future at Paris Saint-Germain could depend on whether the club makes an approach to Lionel Messi, with his departure seen as more likely if that is the case because of Financial Fair Play regulations. (Daily Express)
ARSENAL WANT TOMIYASU
Arsenal are set to make an offer for Bologna defender Takehiro Tomiyasu after his proposed move to fierce rivals Tottenham stalled. (Daily Express)
James Milner says Harvey Elliott is ready to play a part in Jurgen Klopp’s plans this season. (Daily Express)
Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus could be the first two players cast aside by Manchester City as they look to balance the books after signing Jack Grealish and with the arrival of Harry Kane potentially still to come. (Daily Star)
Benfica are demanding £30m for Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez, who is wanted by Brighton. (Telegraph)
West Ham’s search for a centre-back has included considering Southampton’s Jannik Vestergaard following a summer where he reached the Euro semi-finals with Denmark. (Telegraph)
Crystal Palace are considering re-signing Nathaniel Clyne after his return to the club last season. (Telegraph)
Kevin De Bruyne initially told Pep Guardiola to make a move for Jack Grealish after coming up against his new team-mate on international duty last year. (Independent)
Glen Kamara is set to commit his future to Rangers after the club offered him a bumper new deal to extend his stay beyond the summer of 2023. (Daily Record)
Juventus are showing an interest in reuniting with Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic (Calciomercato)
Napoli are hoping to sign Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge (Calciomercato)