Lionel Messi's surprise link to Chelsea as he admits contact with another club

By Colin Millar

This summer’s headlines were dominated by the bombshell news that Lionel Messi was leaving Barcelona after spending the entirety of his career at the Camp Nou.

It swiftly transpired that the Argentine superstar had been confident of penning a new long-term deal at the club with a pay cut of 50 percent to ensure that the deal could be processed.

Yet the extent of Barca’s financial problems meant that they were unable to register a new deal for the 34-year-old within their budget, as set by La Liga.

That prompted a period of uncertainty for the player and a small number of elite clubs with the player ultimately penning a two-year contract at Paris Saint-Germain.

Lionel Messi left Barcelona this summer after being unable to sign a new contract (AFP via Getty Images)

However, the Ligue 1 club were not the only side to make an approach for the player with the player’s latest admission giving credence to Chelsea making an audacious attempt to sign Messi.

On Saturday, Messi admitted in a revealing interview with France Football: “I was lucky enough to be contacted by several clubs and one of them was PSG.”

The news that the Blues had moved to make an approach for the Argentine superstar was first relayed by Diario AS in the hours after news of his exit from Barca was confirmed.

It was claimed that Chelsea and PSG were the two clubs leading the race for the player, with Man City unable to enter the process having moved to sign Jack Grealish for £100million.

Lionel Messi gave an emotional farewell press conference to Barcelona in August (REUTERS)

The report claimed that Roman Abramovich requested an ‘urgent meeting’ with Messi’s representatives and proposed an offer to take the player to Stamford Bridge.

It was said that the economic offer could not match that of PSG’s, but the Blues were prepared to break their wage structure to tempt Messi – while they were also in the process of negotiating the deal to sign Romelu Lukaku from Inter.

When asked to go into detail on the further offers that he received, the Argentine stopped short of naming other clubs but re-confirmed that he had contact.

The list of potential clubs who could fund a deal for the 34-year-old can be counted on one hand, with Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs the only other realistic destinations outside of Paris.

Such was the nature of Messi’s situation, a solution had to be found quickly to his future and PSG were best-placed to conclude a swift agreement due to their financial power and that the Argentine’s close friend Neymar was at the club.

The superstar continued: “I received other proposals, but I must admit that we quickly reached an agreement with PSG.

“Discussions began and it was not easy because everything had to be fixed in a short time, practically overnight, when it was a very difficult operation to complete under the circumstances.

“Obviously, I was seduced by the project, the ambitions of the club, the players at their disposal, the squad.

“All these elements made it easier to quickly reach an agreement.”


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