Chelsea have joined the race to sign free agent Lionel Messi, with Blues owner Roman Abramovich personally requesting a meeting with the former Barcelona man.
Messi had been expected to renew his contract at Camp Nou, only for Barcelona to surprisingly confirm on Thursday that there was no chance of an extension happening because of financial restraints.
Since then, it’s been Paris Saint-Germain who have been working to get a deal done, but according to AS, Abramovich is keen to force his way to the front of the queue and has requested an ‘urgent meeting’ with Messi‘s entourage to discuss his future.
With Pep Guardiola confirming that Manchester City will not be moving for Messi, Abramovich wants to give the 34-year-old the chance to move to England and he is already starting to prepare the pitch to bring Messi to Chelsea.
There is an acceptance that PSG are leading the race for Messi’s signature, but Chelsea are ready to try and they believe they are in a stronger financial position than the Parisians.
It’s been a busy few days for Chelsea, who are also deep in negotiations with Inter over a deal for striker Romelu Lukaku, who is likely to cost close to £110m if a transfer can be agreed.
As the story goes, Abramovich’s plan is to pursue both Lukaku and Messi in the hope of signing at least one of them, but the idea of bringing both to Stamford Bridge this summer has not been ruled out either.
Messi and Chelsea have always had a unique relationship. The Blues are the only club he follows on Instagram and former team-mate Pablo Zabaleta revealed in 2018 (via the Daily Mail) that Messi has often played as Chelsea on FIFA.
He was also rumoured to have agreed to join Chelsea back in 2014, only to end up signing a new contract at Barcelona.
Chelsea definitely have the financial capability to lure Messi over to England, but with PSG pushing hard to get a deal done, the Blues will know they are facing an uphill battle with this one.