It was announced on Thursday that Messi would not be signing a new contract with Barcelona and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is now in hot pursuit of the legendary forward
Lionel Messi is leaving Barcelona as their greatest ever player this summer – and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich wants to bring him to Stamford Bridge.
Barcelona confirmed Messi’s Nou Camp exit on Thursday evening after a bombshell shock announcement posted on social media which stated their greatest ever player would not be signing a new deal with the Catalan giants.
It marks the end of a glittering career for Messi in the Catalonia capital, where he scored 672 goals, won 34 club trophies and lifted six Ballon’s D’or after joining the club at age 13 from Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina.
All talk has now turned to where one of football’s all-time greats will go next, with PSG and Premier League champions Manchester City heavily linked.
A story from AS has reported that Abramovich has called an ‘urgent meeting’ to discuss the potential swoop for the diminutive forward.
The Spanish outlet writes that the ‘earthquake’ about Messi has convinced the Chelsea owner to ‘set eyes’ on the player, calling for the immediate meeting with Messi’s entourage.
The talks are set to be held by an intermediary, with Abramovich convinced that his club has the financial might to compete with PSG, even if he concedes the French club are ahead of Chelsea in the Messi pursuit right now.
According to Di Marzio, it is not the first time Chelsea have been in the market to sign Argentina’s number ten, after reportedly coming close to sealing a blockbuster €250million deal in 2014.
Di Marzio recalls “the biggest unknown tale in the transfer market”, where then-Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho convinced Messi to join the west London club in a “box-office” video call.
Personal terms had already been agreed upon before the deal fell through due to Barcelona teammate Deco and Messi’s father and agent Jorge convincing him to stay at the Blaugrana.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is also a big fan of Lionel Messi, and was heavily linked with his signature last summer.
When asked by BT Sport about the prospect of adding Messi to PSG, the German stated: “He is welcome, very welcome! What coach says no to Messi?”
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Chelsea are heavily pursuing Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku, who was contracted with the London club from 2011-14, eventually signing permanently for Everton after only making ten league appearances for The Blues.
It is unclear at this stage whether the pursuit of Messi would shelve the ambitions to sign Lukaku or if Roman Abramovich would like to bring both forwards into the club.
The European champions have had an £85m bid rejected for Lukaku but are expected to return with a second bid before the conclusion of this summer’s transfer window.
Chelsea are also heavily on the tails of French international Jules Kounde, and reports suggest he would be welcome to a move from Sevilla.
Meanwhile, thousands of Barcelona supporters crowded the Nou Camp on Thursday to vent their anger regarding Messi’s departure.
Other fans looked to the legendary ground in disbelief, wondering how a future without their greatest ever player will look.
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