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Lionel Messi's move to Chelsea; was it ever on?

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Lionel Messi signing for Chelsea was a story that many simply glanced over and brushed aside as purely a measly attempt from newspapers trying to sell copies.

However, the somewhat overstated facts are facts nonetheless and show clearly there was indeed, at the very least, the possibility of Chelsea acquiring Messi this summer. 

The rumours begin

Talks and rumours of Messi moving away from the Nou Camp all started back in 2012, at Christmas time, when Anzhi Makhachkala activated Messi's gargantuan €250million release clause.

Having been taken over by new owner, Russian billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, the Russian club decided to launch themselves onto the world stage by submitting this offer to the Catalans. Barcelona briskly brushed this aside, as did Messi at the thought of moving to Russia, and opted to sign a contract extension instead with the Spanish side.

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Adidas vs Nike

By signing the contract extension and remaining at the club, Nike, Barcelona's kit sponsor, had the biggest name and talent in football within its sponsorship portfolio. As a result, major commercial rival, Adidas, aimed to broker a deal for Messi to come away from Nike's Barcelona and instead move to one of its big trio of clubs it sponsored.

These were namely Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and of course Chelsea.

Real Madrid were quickly dismissed from the list and Bayern were also removed after they acquired Pep Guardiola as manager, which made Munich a no-go for Messi after the two had a personal fallout. So, with Chelsea being the only high-profile club in Adidas' armoury of sponsored clubs they decided to see if such a deal with Messi could be brokered, with Adidas financing the bulk of a fee.

Chelsea plot

Heading into 2014, Chelsea and Adidas plotted the deal and thus held discussions over submitting a firm bid and the financial mechanics of said offer. This, along with Messi's current spat with Barcelona over the contract extension set the stage.

Then, during the spring of 2014, Chelsea met with Messi's personal management representatives and of course Barcelona, laying down the offer.

What happened next, very much at the disappointment of sporting journalism, Adidas and Chelsea, was that the deal crumbled. Barcelona suddenly were in no position to argue with Messi over his contract extension and the Argentina star signed a deal worth €20million a year until 2019. 

In the end, Adidas were unable to adopt Messi as a pawn in the ever present battle between arch rivals Nike in the commercial world, and it was certainly a fight firmly won by Nike. 

The possibility of Messi coming to Chelsea and the premier league was certainly real, despite being slim, however, there is of course no reason why interest cannot be reignited in years to come and by no means puts an end to commercially driven transfer deals. 

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Topics:
Chelsea
Barcelona
Premier League
La Liga
Lionel Messi
Football

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