Barcelona were forced to reject a stunning €150million bid from Chelsea for superstar Lionel Messi this summer, according to Catalan newspaper Sport.
The Spanish daily claims that Jose Mourinho asked Roman Abramovich for the funds to land the four-time Ballon d’Or winner, and that the Blues president consented to paying for the move so long as an agreement could be reached with Barcelona.
The report in questions states that The Special One was keen to take advantage of Messi’s situation at the Nou Camp, which was at times speculated as being precarious, and must have believed that a big enough bid could make a seemingly impossible transfer, possible.
It’s said that neither Barcelona or Messi were suitably impressed by the transfer proposal however, and of course the player remained past the transfer deadline, ending any lingering doubts over his commitment to Luis Enrique’s cause.
Just how Mourinho planned on utilising the talents of the Argentina international remains unclear, with him having a surplus of wideman at his disposal as it is. Eden Hazard, who has been tipped as a future world-beater, occupies one of the starting roles, with the likes of Willian and Andre Schurrle left to compete for the other slot.
Regardless of the need though it seems the Chelsea boss wanted Messi in his squad, and was hoping to lure him to Stamford Bridge prior to the 26-year-old penning a new deal in May. The playmaker put pen to paper on a contract which ties him to Barca until 2018 and, with his status as a cult hero in Catalonia secured, it doesn’t look like he’ll be heading anywhere until at least the next four years are up.
That being said Messi evoked criticism from the stands last term, which threatened to put a taint on his relationship with the fans who worship him so. The arrival of Neymar gave them a new South American to adore and, though Messi remains arguably the world’s best player, his position at the club isn’t as secure as it was when Pep Guardiola was at the helm.
Barcelona moving forward
Remedying that will be one of Enrique’s priorities, as he seeks about constructing a squad capable of reinstating its dominance over European football. The Spaniard is said to be in the process of pushing Messi into a new, deeper role in his setup, and will be all too aware of how vital the diminutive forward will be to his long-term ambitions.