Lionel Messi is favouring a move to Chelsea over the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United because he wants to reunite with good friend Cesc Fabregas, according to The Express.
Citing reports from Spain, the story suggests that Messi's time at Barcelona is coming to an end with the Nou Camp outfit keen to boost their finances with what will surely be a record sale. It would also give Neymar a chance to become the new Catalan megastar.
Realistically, Manchester City and Chelsea would be the only clubs capable of financing a deal, which could total out at an incredible £352 million when wages and transfer fees are combined. Should Messi get an offer from both teams Stamford Bridge will be his preferred destination.
The 27-year-old is keen to link back up with his close friend Fabregas, who left for Chelsea in a £27 million deal in the summer. The playmaker has become an integral part of Jose Mourinho's team and Messi seems confident he could follow suit.
Messi and Fabregas came through the Barcelona youth system together and were both offered the chance to join Arsenal as 15-year-olds. Only Fabregas accepted the advances of Arsene Wenger while Messi stayed at the Nou Camp.
"While I always said that I would always stay there, sometimes not everything happens the way you want" - Lionel Messi
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It turned out to be an excellent decision. Messi has broken a host of records with Barcelona as well as winning four Ballon d'Or titles. While he is still regarded as the best player in the world, he could be seeking a new challenge.
He is quoted in the same report as saying: "Today I live in the present. I want to make a great year and win titles with Barcelona.
"Then we'll see, football takes many turns. While I always said that I would always stay there, sometimes not everything happens the way you want."
Those quotes only fuelled speculation that Barcelona are preparing to sell Messi, who has long been linked with a big money move to the Premier League.
Whether Chelsea could finance a deal while keeping in line with financial fair play, however, is another matter altogether.
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