Sky Sports expert Guillem Balague has revealed that Chelsea, Man City and Man United are all ready to swoop for Lionel Messi if he doesn’t sign a new deal.
The Argentine international’s current contract runs until 2018, but there has yet to be any genuine movement in signing an extension.
In turn, that has led to question marks being raised over his long-term future with the Catalan giants, with a whole host of clubs hoping to take advantage of the situation.
Having conceded that the club is limited financially in what it can offer Messi, it has only served to further alert the English clubs mentioned above, with Balague providing some clarity on the situation as it stands.
“The situation is Barcelona want to sit down for talks but Messi is not in a rush. Timing is important here – he has a contract until 2018,” he told Sky Sports.
“It looks like everyone is positioning themselves and that message from the club is very alarming. What they are saying is, ‘We are going to have to be very careful with what we spend’.
“It suggests they don’t have the financial muscle to renew.
“Of course, that has pricked the ears of all the football powerhouses. Pep Guardiola has kept saying Messi should retire at Barcelona but I know Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea are sending messages to Messi saying, ‘We are here if you ever think of leaving Barcelona.'”
Given his history with the club, it’s difficult to think that Messi would consider leaving Barca as he has won countless individual and collective trophies since joining the club in 2001.
While international success has evaded him, it has been a completely different story in Spain and it will certainly be strange to see him in any other jersey other than a Barca one as the expectation remains that he will renew and continue his story with the club.
However, City, United and Chelsea will hope that isn’t the case and will likely pull out all of the stops in order to sign Messi if it becomes a genuine possibility.