While the days might have passed since Barcelona’s Champions League humiliation out in Portugal, the inquest is well underway around Catalonia and drastic changes are more than needed for the fading Spanish giants.
Hit with what turned out to be a humiliating 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich and already watching Quique Setién giving his marching orders by the Nou Camp hierarchy, there still remains a string of questions surrounding Lionel Messi’s future.
With some feeling that his record-breaking tenure at Barcelona might be drawing to a close after what has been a hugely disappointing campaign for the former European champions, where do the bookmakers think that the Argentinian genius could be heading over the coming months?
Any Argentinian side – 9/2 with 888sport
Although many feel that arguably football’s greatest ever player still has plenty to offer in one of Europe’s top-tiers, Messi could be tempted to make a much-hoped return to where it all began for the 33-year-old.
With it no secret that he has been unhappy with the direction Barcelona is heading and still in the midst of a well-publicised battle with club president Josep Bartomeu, a move back to Argentina and one club in particular could be at the top of Messi’s agenda.
Starting his legacy off at Newell’s Old Boys as just a six-year-old, the little magician has remained a lifelong fan of the Rosario outfit and has previously spoken about his desire to make a return home before hanging up his boots.
While some may have warned him off of a potential move back to Argentina, Messi stated last year that; “I have the dream of being able to play for Newell’s in Argentina.”.
The same club that another Argentinian icon in Diego Maradona had a brief stint with back 1993, the club’s vice-president Cristian D’Amico has openly discussed their eagerness to temp their most notable academy product back home over the coming months.
Inter Milan – 5/1 with Betfair
While Inter Milan might have been left heartbroken to have missed out on lifting their first Serie A crown since 2011 by just a one-point deficit this summer, Antonio Conte’s side have laid down a marker and have shown some real signs of a resurge under the former Chelsea boss.
Ahead of a Europa League semi-final against Shakhtar Donetsk on Monday night, I Nerazzurri have already secured a Champions League return for next season and it is no secret that Inter have always remained hopeful of bringing Messi to the San Siro.
Making a €150million bid for the iconic forward back in 2006 when he was just 19, former club president Massimo Moratti has said that the club now has “everything it takes” to bring Barcelona’s MVP over to Italy 16 years on from their initial attempt.
With some believing that Messi could be tempted to follow in Cristiano Ronaldo’s foot steps and try a change of scenery in Serie A before his historic career draws to a close, Inter might also have a bargaining chip if they’re serious about recruiting the six-time Ballon d’Or winner over the coming months.
With Barcelona unsurprisingly expected to undergo yet another shake-up this summer after their woeful European hammering on Friday night, the Catalonia outfit have remained heavily linked with Lautaro Martinez and Spanish outlet Sport have suggested that Conte’s men are open to the idea of allowing the 22-year-old to leave the San Siro.
Manchester City – 6/1 with Betfair
Much like Barcelona, Manchester City also found themselves come crashing out of the Champions League in shocking fashion over the weekend and the Sky Blues are another side who find themselves firmly under the microscope.
Despite making the trip out to Lisbon as a top pick with many from across Europe to lift their first European crown later this month, Pep Guardiola’s men were hit with a stunning 3-1 defeat against Ligue 1 outfit Lyon and it has been an extremely worrying campaign both domestically and in Europe for fans around the Etihad.
Relinquishing both their Premier League and FA Cup titles last season, could the former Barca boss be looking to tempt his former pupil in to a Premier League switch?
With Guardiola now failing to lift the Champions League title since 2011 when he was in the dugout at the Nou Camp, the Sky Blues have already splashed big on both Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres over the past few weeks and that isn’t the last we’re expected to see of City in this summer’s transfer window.
With The Mirror reporting that the now-former English champions are willing to spend whatever it takes in order to lure Messi to the Etihad, the two clubs famously have a working relationship and Guardiola’s side appear to believe that they sit in pole position to clinch Messi’s signature if he does decide on a change of scenery.
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