Chelsea’s hopes of completing a mega-deal for Lionel Messi this year have been all but derailed by the player’s comments that rumours of a move are lies, but latest speculation suggests the optimism was all misplaced anyway.
According to reports Barcelona are prepared to sack manager Luis Enrique if it means the difference between losing Messi or keeping him, with the player said to be at odds with the new Nou Camp boss.
Chiefs at the Catalan club have supposedly told the Argentina captain that their allegiance lies with him, and won’t hesitate to remove Enrique from the books if Chelsea look like taking advantage of the deteriorating relationship between player and coach.
At the weekend Messi ensured that he has now scored more career goals than Real Madrid legend Raul, after adding the third in an impressive 3-1 victory over Atletico Madrid. Just 27, the record is yet another to fall by the wayside as Messi continues to shine on the world stage, and if nothing else reiterated his importance to the current Barca setup.
That's why a potential deal, from Chelsea's point of view at least, looks extremely unlikely. Barca are astutely aware of the fact that selling their golden star, even for a sum of £200 million, could cause irreparable damage to the squad, whilst losing Enrique wouldn't damage them all that much.
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Meanwhile youngster Islam Feruz will return to Stamford Bridge imminently, as Cardiff City boss Russell Slade has chosen not to offer him a loan until the summer. The striker was on trial with the Championship outfit, having seen a season-long loan at OFC Crete cancelled.
The youngster will no doubt now be sent out elsewhere as the Blues look to hand him the opportunity to further his development, though where he will end up is anyone's guess. The loan system Chelsea currently have in place sees various players dotted around Europe, though a move to a lowly English side might help Feruz to get to grips with the demands of playing Premier League football.