Messi Sr tells Bartomeu that Lionel is leaving
Spanish newspaper Marca reports that talks between Barcelona and Lionel Messi’s father Jorge are ongoing, but that Jorge was unequivocal in his demands in a meeting with Josep Maria Bartomeu. In the discussion Jorge told the Barca president: “My son isn’t staying at Barcelona.” Messi’s release clause stands at over 700 million euros and the club will not let him leave for free.
Paper Round’s view: There is only one club that can probably afford Messi and that is Manchester City. To that end, don’t be surprised if they can offer a fortune to the 33-year-old in order to get him to commit to forcing his way out of the club.
Lionel Messi's dad arrives in Barcelona for crunch talks - Euro Papers
Messi could leave for just £88.8 million
The Telegraph reports that Lionel Messi could leave for just 100 million euros (£88.8 million). The 33-year-old Barcelona striker has been linked with a move to Manchester City since he requested to exercise a contract clause that allows him to leave for nothing, something which his current club and La Liga have claimed is not allowed at this late stage of the year.
Paper Round’s view: Almost £90 million pounds would be affordable for Manchester City, and the delay in Kalidou Koulibaly’s expected move from Napoli might hint that they think they are in with a chance. While Messi would be a commercial boon in many ways for City, they would still have to find the cash for his presumably astronomical wage demands.
Henderson ready to leave United
The Mirror reports that Dean Henderson is already preparing to leave Manchester United if he is not given a run in the first team. The 23-year-old England ‘keeper returned from loan at Sheffield United and signed a new deal at Old Trafford, but would leave on loan again if he could not dislodge David de Gea, saying: “I don’t think I want to be not playing after coming off a good season with momentum. It wouldn’t be clever for me to sit around and not play football. I don’t think it would help any parties at all.”
Paper Round’s view: Henderson has yet to prove himself at the top end of the Premier League and with United’s improving defence the focus will now be showing he can concentrate throughout long periods of the game when United are dominating. That is a separate skill than he may have used at Sheffield United, but it is true that he will need to get regular game time to improve regardless.
Leicester to sign Castagne
Leicester City look set to sign Atalanta defender Timothy Castagne. The Belgian international has passed a medical in Germany while on international duty, and will complete a £21.5 million move as Brendan Rodgers looks to quickly replace left-sided Ben Chilwell with the 24-year-old full-back, who can play on both flanks, after Chilwell joined Chelsea.
Paper Round’s view: Leicester have done exceptionally well in scouting and replacing their big names so much will be expected of Castagne. Full-back is a demanding position in the Premier League and so his fitness will be tested as much as his positional sense, and with Rodgers in charge he will be obliged to contribute in attack as well.