Nobody has the foggiest idea what the future holds for Lionel Messi, but that hasn’t stopped countless self-proclaimed “in the know” folk, including the Mill, engaging in wild speculation. The Mirror has got wind of tittle-tattle from Argentina which suggests the player may be pondering a Tory-style U-turn despite his recent announcement that he wants to leave Barcelona with extreme prejudice.
Despite reports that Wednesday’s meeting between Messi’s father and agent Jorge, and club president Josep Bartomeu ended in a stalemate, TyC Sports say Barcelona are ready to offer the player a new two-year deal and claim he is “90% certain” to stay at Camp Nou. While this doesn’t exactly tally with previous reports that he is ready to reunite with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, it may give the player’s representatives and his current employers additional bargaining power when it comes to negotiations over any potential move.
On international duty with Wales, who might actually give him a game, Gareth Bale has revealed he would be open to leaving for a Premier League club but says Real Madrid are placing obstacles in his way. “It is something I’d look at for sure,” he told Sky Sports. “Time will tell but mainly I think the reason is that the decision is in Real Madrid’s hands. I tried to leave last year but they blocked everything at the last second. We will see what happens. It’s in the club’s hands but they make things very difficult, to be honest.”
Speaking about Bale on TalkSport’s breakfast show on Thursday morning, the former Madrid president Ramón Calderón said the winger would need to take a substantial pay cut to leave the Bernabéu and also revealed an unspecified Premier League club made an unsuccessful £100m bid to bring him back to England last summer.
Segueing neatly into talk of Manchester United, Bild claim club officials have initiated contact with the representatives of long-time Liverpool target Thiago Alcântara, even if their acquisition of Donny van de Beek suggests they don’t need the Spanish midfielder, who is intent on leaving Bayern Munich. Thiago has an ardent admirer in Jürgen Klopp, who could sell Gini Wijnaldum to Barcelona and free up a dressing-room peg and training-ground car park space for the 29-year-old.
Having been previously linked with a move to Arsenal, former Bournemouth winger and free agent Ryan Fraser is reported to be in talks with Steve Bruce about a move to Newcastle. In need of a more prolific striker than Andy Carroll, Joelinton, Yoshinori Muto and the injured Dwight Gayle, who is about to undergo knee surgery, Bruce is also hoping to lure Fraser’s former teammate Callum Wilson to St James’ Park in what would represent quite the coup.
And finally, with James Rodríguez due to undergo a medical at Everton before his mooted £20m move from Real Madrid, Gylfi Sigurdsson‘s time at the Merseyside club and long association with the Premier League could be drawing to a close. Now that Allan is also believed to be joining from Napoli, the Icelandic international is beginning to look surplus to requirements at Goodison Park and is reported to be the subject of interest from MLS side DC United.