Chelsea may have attempted to bring Barcelona striker Lionel Messi to Stamford Bridge by activating his release clause with a £210m bid last summer, according to The Daily Express.

Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo reported that an Adidas-backed club were prepared to cough up the astronomical fee, backing up rumours that the Blues may have been the mystery side behind the audacious offer.

The west London club have experienced problems up front this campaign, but it remains speculative whether Jose Mourinho and Roman Abramovich would have elected to splash such a gigantic amount of money on a single player – even if the individual in question is Lionel Messi.

Bayern Munich, another club with a lucrative kit sponsorship with Adidas, have also been connected with the stunning bid.

Pep Guardiola, now at the helm of the Bavarian club following his exit from Barcelona in 2012, has a strong friendship with Messi having spent four trophy-laden years with the four-time Ballon d'Or winner at the Camp Nou.

However, the Argentina international allegedly turned down all three offers from the unknown clubs as he is more than content with life in Spain.

The La Liga champions are said to be in the process of negotiating a new £17m-per-year deal with Messi that would see him leapfrog Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo as the highest-paid footballer on the planet.

It would seem £210m is not sufficient to deter rival clubs from chasing Messi, so the Catalan club will have to dramatically increase his release clause to avoid future attempts to sign the world's best player.

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