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Guillem Balague Claims Chelsea Target Lionel Messi Has Never Been Closer To Barcelona Exit

The journalist thinks the player is unhappy at the Nou Camp…

Respected journalist Guillem Balague has claimed that Barcelona star Lionel Messi has never been closer to leaving the club, reports Sky Sports.

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Chelsea have been rumoured to be showing interest in the four time Ballon d’Or winner, and this news will certainly boost the Stamford Bridge outfit’s chances of getting the player. The forward also missed a training session on Monday which was blamed on a gastric problem by the club.

“He has never been as close as this to leaving,” said Balague. “That doesn’t mean he is going to leave. What I mean is that it’s a possibility that has not only entered his mind – Barcelona were thinking of selling him about six, seven months ago.

“All that has been a possibility and still is a possibility – of course there are clubs that approached Messi’s family to see if they would be willing to go, especially from the Premier League,” he added.

The 27-year-old is reportedly unhappy with the way the club is being run by manager Luis Enrique and the current board. However, the Spanish football expert is doubtful that Chelsea have enough funds for a transfer.

“There are not many clubs that could fork out about £400 million, which would be his buyout clause and his wages – PSG and Real Madrid, some say Chelsea but I’m not sure, certainly Manchester City – but the fact he’s never been this close to leaving doesn’t mean he will leave.”

The journalist also confirmed that there are rifts between the squad and coach at the Nou Camp, “The story is yes, there has been a division, a clear divorce between the manager and some of the players,” he continued.

“A lot of people are pointing at Lionel Messi because he missed training but there are other players who don’t believe in Luis Enrique – they think his instructions are too confusing, they haven’t got a clear idea of what he wants to do. What will certainly happen is that Barcelona’s going to change direction, either in the summer with new elections, and that might mean the return of Joan Laporta,” he added.

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