Lionel Messi situation leaves Premier League giants on alert

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Having made close to 500 appearances for Barcelona since his debut in 2004, Lionel Messi - for the first time in his career - could be set for a move away from the Camp Nou.

Football fans across the world love him and none more so than the Barca supporters, who pack out the Camp Nou to see him play. However, the Catalans could be set to lose him according to Sky Sports pundit Guillem Balague, who has suggested he is the closest he has ever been to leaving the club.

"It is the closest he's ever been to leaving Barcelona. It doesn't mean he will, but it is the closest he has ever been to leaving the club." Balague told Sky Sports' Revista Bitesize.


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Messi could yet stay at Barca for the rest of his career, but now - more than ever before - the Argentine would be prepared to listen to offers from the Premier League. The 28-year-old's options would include Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea according to the Daily Mail, giving him plenty of decisions to make.

Which club would suit Messi?

Possibly the only three clubs in England who could afford Messi have all be linked with a move for the player in recent months, a transfer rumour that doesn't spring up too often and so when it does it makes for interesting reading.

The current tax fraud situation revolving around the player has certainly not made life any easier for Messi - who is currently out with a knee injury - and some suggest this could have unsettled the player.

And that calls for another argument. For Messi to prove he is the best player in the world, does he need to showcase his talents in another, arguably more competitive league, like the Premier League? Cristiano Ronaldo made his name in England before moving to Spain, and now it could be the time for the Argentine to do the same.

City not only have the funds to sign the player, but could link him up with international teammate Sergio Aguero in a menacing forward role, while also offering him the chance to compete for league titles and, in turn, help the Sky Blues' fortunes in the Champions League - something that has evaded them in the current era at the Etihad.

United, on the other hand, don't need to do much to convince Messi that Old Trafford is the place for him. The club and player are synonymous with each other in regards to global status and the Red Devils have been lacking a hero since Ronaldo's departure.

Chelsea are, unfortunately, not in the best position at this moment in time to try and tempt the 'best player in the world' to join them at Stamford Bridge. However, despite their on-field troubles, they have enough finances and success in recent times to entice the Argentine to the capital.

Move to England would reward Messi

It is an endless debate as to what defines the 'best player' in football, whether that is trophies won, personal awards, contributions to the team, ability or skill. However, the only thing Messi is missing is the experience of another league.

What personal awards Messi hasn't won probably aren't worth too much recognition in all honesty, while league titles in arguably the biggest and most competitive league in the world hold a lot of value.

However, does Messi really need to make the move to England to prove he is the greatest footballer of all time, simply to show us football fans what he has done already in Spain?

But Graham Hunter, Spanish football expert has sided with Balague: "Do I stay? Do I look at pastures new? I wouldn't pretend to know what he's going to do but at this stage of his life and with Barcelona run in the way that it is, I think it's a story of merit,

"I guess at his age... maybe you start to look at your next move and you think your next move at 28 is vitally important.

"It's something I guess you and I will be talking about for months to come."

While Barcelona will do all they can to keep their star man at the Camp Nou for the rest of his career, only Messi will have the final say as to whether England will be graced with arguably the greatest player on the planet.

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