Chelsea dealt final blow in bid to sign Lionel Messi

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. 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.