Rumour Has It: Man City waiting before opening Messi talks, Haaland Barcelona's ideal signing

By Sports Desk February 20, 2021

Manchester City are reportedly yet to begin talks over a move for Lionel Messi, while Erling Haaland is Barcelona's ideal signing.

Messi's future continues to be a major talking point as the star's contract at Barcelona expires at the end of the season.

City have been one of the clubs most strongly linked with a move for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, but it seems the Premier League giants are waiting.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY YET TO BEGIN MESSI TALKS

Manchester City are yet to open talks with Lionel Messi, according to ESPN.

The report says City will wait until the Argentina international has decided his Barcelona future before considering negotiations.

It comes after claims the Premier League side had already tabled an offer to Messi.

 

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- Erling Haaland is wanted by numerous European giants. Mundo Deportivo reports the Borussia Dortmund star would be Barcelona's ideal signing, but the LaLiga side are considering more affordable options.

- Manchester United were seemingly keen to land Barcelona forward Ansu Fati last year. Mundo Deportivo says a £129.7million (€150m) bid from United for the 18-year-old was rejected ahead of 2020-21.

- With Tottenham slipping to ninth in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho has come under fire. ESPN reports Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will wait until the end of the season to make a decision on the head coach.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Gianluigi Donnarumma is yet to agree to a new deal with Milan. 90min claims the 21-year-old wants to succeed Manchester United shot-stopper David de Gea as the highest paid goalkeeper in the world, although he is prepared to take reduced terms at Milan.

- Thierry Henry could be set to take over at Bournemouth. talkSPORT reports the Championship club have requested permission from CF Montreal, where Henry is currently in charge, to talk to the Arsenal great.

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  • Rumour Has It: Pogba set for four-year deal at Juventus Rumour Has It: Pogba set for four-year deal at Juventus

    With his departure from Manchester United on the horizon, Paul Pogba had been free to discuss his future with other clubs since January.

    Failing to ever really match his then world-record price tag with performances on the pitch, the World Cup winner's next destination always seemed limited to a few options.

    Reports suggest a return to Serie A and Juventus is imminent.

     

    TOP STORY – POGBA SET FOR FOUR-YEAR DEAL AT JUVENTUS

    Paul Pogba is expected to complete medical in Turin this weekend to open the path for a free transfer to Juventus, according to Sky Sports.

    Leaving Manchester United at the end of June upon the expiry of his contract, the move to Juve would see him return to the club where he spent four years and established his reputation.

    Upon completion of his medical, the 29-year-old is reportedly set to sign a four-year deal with the club.

    This comes after Pogba turned down what was reported to be a 3.5 per cent increase on his wages at Manchester United.


    ROUND-UP

    - Bayern Munich have reached a verbal agreement with Juve's Matthijs de Ligt amid interest from Chelsea, according to Sport1.

    - Tottenham are keen on signing Villarreal's Pau Torres despite the impending arrival of Clement Lenglet, the Mirror is reporting.

    - Newcastle United are willing to meet Bayer Leverkusen's asking price for Moussa Diaby, per the Telegraph.

    - New Paris Saint-Germain boss Christophe Galtier hopes Neymar can stay at the club amid speculation over his future, The Sun is reporting.

  • Matthaus: De Ligt signing would be a 'huge gain' for Bayern Matthaus: De Ligt signing would be a 'huge gain' for Bayern

    Lothar Matthaus believes Matthijs de Ligt could be a critical long-term signing for Bayern Munich, and a defensive base they could build their squad around.

    The 22-year-old's departure after an indifferent spell at Juventus, after signing in 2019 from Ajax, has prompted him to seek a move away with no apparent harm to his market value.

    Though De Ligt had been linked with a transfer to Chelsea earlier in the off-season, reports in Germany have suggested the Netherlands international is more keen on a move to the Bundesliga.

    Matthaus, the Ballon d'Or and World Cup winner in 1990, insisted De Ligt would be a transformative signing for his former club.

    "He's a van Dijk type," Matthaus told Bild. "He can take on the role of defence chief at Bayern, which is missing there.

    "He's one of the best central defenders in Europe, and at 22 he's such a young player that Bayern could have done with that position for the next few years. A super transfer if it works – a huge gain."

    Former Schalke boss and De Ligt's compatriot Huub Stevens echoed Matthaus' sentiments, believing the centre-back has progressed despite an inconsistent time in Turin.

    The 68-year-old also noted De Ligt would be a compatible signing within Julian Nagelsmann's aggressive system, making the reported €70million price tag reasonable.

    "Just as I saw De Ligt play at Ajax Amsterdam back then, he learned a lot defensively at Juventus," Stevens said.

    "He fits the style of Bayern, he has to defend up the pitch. He was already great at Ajax, he's a playing defender. The fee is, of course, crazy, but you can see in England that such sums are normal for defenders there."

  • Kessie relishes 'great' opportunity with Barcelona Kessie relishes 'great' opportunity with Barcelona

    Franck Kessie revealed he is excited to get to work at Barcelona, after the Spanish club confirmed his signing earlier this week.

    On Monday, the Blaugrana announced the signings of both Kessie and Andreas Christensen, with their contracts expiring at Milan and Chelsea respectively this off-season.

    It has nevertheless been a busy period for Barcelona as they look to balance their books, with reports linking Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele to moves away in the event they do not lower their wages.

    After helping the Rossoneri secure the Serie A title last season, Kessie insists he is looking forward to working under Xavi, despite uncertainty over where he will actually play in midfield.

    "When Xavi calls you, you see that all your efforts have been worth it," he said upon arriving in Barcelona. "I can't wait to start working with him and my colleagues.

    "It is a great opportunity. Barca is a great team, and I am very happy. I really want to start and give my best. I am a player who works hard on a day-to-day basis to end up winning things.

    "Where I play, the coach will decide. He will know where I can best help the team."

    The 25-year-old played in a variety of positions under Stefano Pioli in Milan, even spending parts of last season as an attacking midfielder.

    He was a dependable figure last season as well, only missing three league games, with the exception of international duty during January's African Cup of Nations.

    The Ivorian also revealed he hopes to emulate the feats of his compatriot and "idol" Yaya Toure, who won his lone Champions League with Barcelona in 2009.

    "My idol is Yaya Toure," Kessie said. "He is a great player and an Ivorian, like me. I have been lucky enough to play with him and I want to have a career as good as his."

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