Chelsea have edged one tiny step closer to being able to make arguably the biggest deal in football history, as Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola officially declared himself out of the race to sign Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.
The Argentina skipper’s long-term future has been shrouded in uncertainty of late, with rumours rife that he could finish his career away from the Nou Camp.
With Manchester City and Bayern both out of the running for his signature though it appears that it could be a two-horse race between Manchester United and Jose Mourinho’s Blues. Last week it was reported the aforementioned quartet were the only clubs capable of making a deal potentially worth £352m possible.
The speculation has of course been fuelled by Messi's comments recently which appeared to confirm there was scope for a transfer. The diminutive playmaker insisted that it was not a certainty he would remain with Barcelona until he hangs up his boots, and with his reputation being what it is he obviously has plenty of admirers.
Elsewhere former Bolton boss Owen Coyle has revealed that Chelsea almost missed out on signing Gary Cahill because of City. The England international moved to Stamford Bridge in 2012, but that was only after the Citizens had pulled out of a deal themselves.
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Had they not then they might well have got their hands on a player who's been oh so influential for the Blues since his arrival in west London. The partnership of Cahill and John Terry has become renowned for being one of the strongest on the continent, and when the latter steps down it's fair to assume that the responsibility will fall on Cahill's shoulders with regards to ensuring his successor settles in.
- It's been revealed that Chelsea star Thibaut Courtois wanted to join Barcelona prior to signing on at Stamford Bridge, by former Nou Camp scout Bojan Krkic senior. According to the Stoke City's father, the Belgian stopper was prepared to join Barca, only to end up moving to Chelsea a month later.