Barcelona set to give Lionel Messi new five-year deal to stop Chelsea links
FC Barcelona is set to give Lionel Messi a new multi-million five-year deal to finally stop rumors of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner moving out of the Camp Nou to the Stamford Bridge this summer, recent reports said.
The back-to-back La Liga champions have reportedly “switched their focus” to the Argentina international after completing a similar five-year deal with Brazil skipper Neymar, anchoring the winger with the club until 2021, according to Caught Offside.
Messi is having a restless summer so far after failing to give his country the historic 2016 Copa America Centenario title, losing once again for the second straight year to Chile on penalties, and being sentenced to 21 months in jail after losing a tax fraud case in Spain.
Although the 5-foot-7 Rosario, Argentina native is not expected to spend any time in prison as verdicts of less than two years can be served under probation in the said country, the stress of going though trials and expected reputational damage are likely taking its toll on him as he recently announced that he is retiring from playing in the national squad.
Messi, who just turned 29 last month, has also been linked to a summer exit from the Nou Camp after his agent and father, Jorge, was rumored to have held a “secret meeting” with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich right in the yacht of the Russian businessman, as per The Sun.
The Blues are said to be ready to pay Messi’s more than £100 million release clause, which would certainly smash the current transfer record set by Real Madrid’s £85 million acquisition of Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur, although it is believed that Barça will not let go of their prized goalscorer and playmaker.
Messi’s father is also part of the trials and Spanish authorities demanded them to pay a fine of £3 million to settle the case apart from the jail sentence.
It was reported that Messi and his family felt “victimized” by Spain’s government officials after the ruling and so the Argentinian is speculated to be looking for a move out of the said country in retaliation.
Upon hearing the rumors, Chelsea said to have been “alerted to the possibility that Messi could leave Barça over the tax case and the club’s failure to offer a new contract”.
With the club set to hand him a contract extension, it seems like Messi is not going anywhere at this stage of his career.