Chelsea to enter Messi race?

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According to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, Chelsea have emerged as unexpected candidates to sign Lionel Messi when his contract with Barcelona expires at the end of the season.

The story about the Argentinian superstar and his obvious wish to leave the Camp Nou was by far the most intriguing saga of the 2020 summer transfer window, even more so than Chelsea’s chase for Kai Havertz or the failed attempt of Manchester United to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

Even though his contract runs until the summer of 2021, Messi wanted to leave Barcelona as a free agent this year, pointing to a special clause in his deal which gave him the option to do so if he wished at the end of any season. The clause had actually expired by the time he made his wish known to the club, but he and his father believed its validity should have been extended due to all the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, not least the season itself being prolonged.

However, Barcelona expectedly took a different view. They reportedly told Messi he had missed his chance and refused to allow him to leave for anything less than the standard buyout clause in the contract, set at €700 million. Messi eventually dropped the matter and stayed put, but once this season is over, the matter will be out of Barcelona’s hands.

Manchester City have been linked with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner the most, even though manager Pep Guardiola said more than once he would prefer his former charge to stay at Barcelona for the rest of his career.

But now it seems Messi could move to Stamford Bridge and join Frank Lampard’s project at Chelsea instead.