Lionel Messi is seriously considering a move to the Premier League; so much so that he has even started to learn English, according to Guillem Balague.
The Argentinian superstar has spent his entire career at Barcelona, but, at the age of 28, is starting to think about a new challenge.
Messi has broken almost every goal scoring record with the Nou Camp outfit and has won all that Spanish football could possibly offer him, not to mention his four Ballon d'Or titles.
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With the Premier League clubs set to become even richer next season, several club would have the necessary funds to meet his €250million release clause with Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City reportedly already trying to work their way into his thoughts.
And, thanks to a quiet word from his close friends Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Aguero, Messi is starting to come round to the idea of a new challenge in the Premier League.
“He’s never been closer to leaving Barcelona, he is thinking about it,” Balague told talkSPORT.
“He has heard from Sergio Aguero and Cesc Fabregas how wonderful England and the Premier League is. There’s an attraction there for a new challenge.
“He’s maturing, he wants to imagine himself in England and he watches the Premier League. He’s learning English in case he needs it. He is preparing for that possibility.”
As previously mentioned, a report in the Sun claimed United, Chelsea and City had all made a tentative approach to see if Messi would be willing to swap Spain for England.
United have the financial capacity to buy anyone in the world, but as Ed Woodward has found out in recent summers, they need to find world-class stars that want to join them first.
Chelsea have the smallest budget of the three, despite being funded by billionaire oligarch Roman Abramovich. The Blues have started running the club in a model similar to Arsenal's, intent on balancing the books every year. However, Abramovich would certainly consider making an exception for a man like Messi.
Man City have also got the funds from their sugar daddy, oil-drenched owners and the Citizens are also chasing Pep Guardiola. The chance to work under the former Barcelona coach once again might give them the edge if and when Messi decides his next destination.