Lionel Messi not in favour of Barcelona transfer target to help shore up defence

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Amid speculation linking Barcelona with Lazio defender Luiz Felipe, it has been reported that Lionel Messi isn’t in favour of the swoop.

The Catalan giants have a two-point lead in the La Liga title race with 11 games remaining, while they hold an advantage over Napoli in their Champions League round-of-16 tie after grabbing an away goal in their 1-1 draw in the first leg.

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However, they haven’t always convinced this season, and one area in which they have struggled is defence. Barcelona have conceded 31 goals in 27 league games so far this campaign, giving them the second worst defensive record of the top six sides in the standings.

Samuel Umtiti has had his struggles with injury, leaving Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet as the first-choice pairing for the reigning La Liga champions.

With Pique set to turn 34 next year though, they will surely be aware of the need for a long-term replacement for the defensive stalwart sooner rather than later.

As noted by Marca, Barcelona have been linked with a swoop for Lazio defender Felipe this past week, as the 22-year-old has played a key role in their push for the Serie A title this season. The report adds that it could take €40m to prise him away from the Italian capital.

However, Don Balon have now reported that Messi isn’t in favour of the move, as he isn’t yet convinced that Felipe has the quality or experience to make the jump up to play for Barcelona so soon.

It’s added that the club legend’s influence could sway the decision, and so it remains to be seen if Barca make a move or not.

While he may have an argument given the Brazilian defender is only in his third season in Serie A having previously plied his trade in his homeland, there is no denying that he has been impressive this season and could be a potential solution for Barca if he continues on his current path.

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