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How likely are Chelsea to sign Lionel Messi?

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It's fair to say that Barcelona have endured one of the worst periods in their recent history.

If the upholding of the FIFA transfer ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport wasn't the kind of new year's gift that they were looking for, then an awful loss at Real Sociedad certainly wasn't the way to open the New Year.

Most of the blame for the debacle has been laid, correctly, at the door of Luis Enrique.

Against a side that they haven't beaten on their own patch for 8 years, why did the manager leave the likes of Dani Alves, Ivan Rakitic, Gerard Pique, Neymar and Lionel Messi on the bench?

Heated dressing room argument?

It's certainly a question Messi himself would've asked after the game, and strong rumours have appeared on social media channels to indicate that a row between Barca's star player and manager was the upshot of the disastrous start to the La Liga campaign for the Blaugrana in 2015.

That Messi then followed Chelsea on Instagram is a little unfortunate, but probably a deliberate attempt by Messi's team to force a delicate issue.

It's long been contended that Enrique isn't the right man for the job.

Senior players in the side don't respect his authority, nor his tactical acumen. A penchant for discipline hasn't sat too well with the players either, given that the metering out of the same has included, but hasn't been limited to, keeping players on the bench as a punishment.

An aloofness has also distanced the players from him and this is perhaps the most worrying aspect.

Messi wants happiness

Lionel Messi wants to be kept happy in all things. 

A manager that talks to him, looks after him and a club that builds a title-winning team around him. All of which isn't happening at the moment.

A £200 million likely transfer fee wouldn't necessarily represent a problem for Chelsea, given the amount that would be recouped by shirt sales, sponsorships etc.

However, it's the personal package that could prove prohibitive to the Blues or any others that may be interested in acquiring Messi's services.

A conservative estimate puts Messi's annual salary at somewhere near the $50 million mark.

Taking into account Financial Fair Play, which is something that Jose Mourinho is keen for Chelsea to stay on the right side of, it would mean that Chelsea would have to sell 3-4 star players for big money in order to even consider Messi.

Never say never

Given his age, there is unlikely to be any resale value later on and therefore on a business level any deal doesn't really make sense, even if the value in sporting terms would be unrivalled.

Unless there is a sea change in how Chelsea operate, then it's unlikely we'll see the Argentine in west London anytime soon.

But you can never say never in football...

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Lionel Messi
Premier League
La Liga

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