A potential Chelsea bid for Barcelona star Lionel Messi is on the horizon once again after the Catalans' 1-0 loss against Real Sociedad on Sunday, with reports in the Spanish press indicating the relationship between the Argentina international and manager Luis Enrique has reached breaking point.
According to Cadena Cope, the forward has approached the Blaugrana board of directors regarding Enrique, and AS claims the Blues are now planning their move for the Albiceleste star at just the right time:
Barça are becoming a ticking time bomb. On Sunday night Cadena Cope revealed that Messi has confronted the club’s board of directors and Luis Enrique, who he sees as a “master of the dressing room”. The Argentine has become irritated by the excessive authoritarianism of the coach. As previously reported by this newspaper only last week, 2015 will be the year Chelsea make their move for the Argentine, with Cesc Fabregas one of his best friends in the game.
Messi started Barcelona's loss against Sociedad on the bench and didn't partake in a training session on Monday, citing an upset stomach. AS' Nicholas Rigg wondered whether there might be more going on:
The new Barcelona manager has come under a lot of fire for his inability to settle on a formation and preferred starting 11, making changes to the squad ahead of every single La Liga match.
But now it seems his tinkering with tactics might not be the only reason Enrique's position could be under threat, with Spanish football insider Rafael Hernandez reporting the former Celta Vigo manager isn't even talking to his squad:
Amid all of this controversy and the barrage of reports coming from Spain, Chelsea lie in wait. The close friendship between Cesc Fabregas and Messi is well documented, and the Blues are certainly one of the few clubs in the world with the financial ability to pull off the most anticipated transfer in football history.
The Daily Express' David Wright has already claimed Roman Abramovich is planning an incredible £200 million swoop for the four-time Ballon d'Or winner in the summer, as ludicrous as that may sound.
Mourinho previously commented on the Blues' new financial philosophy, ruling out such gargantuan transfers in light of UEFA's new Financial Fair Play policy. According to Wright, he said:
No I have no chance of that.
Because at this moment there is Financial Fair Play and with the Financial Fair Play we have to follow certain rules, certain numbers and we obviously have no conditions to buy, as you say a ‘super amazing player’ paid with ‘super amazing numbers’ that Chelsea at this moment we cannot do.
He also rubbished the link with Messi when he was asked about the possibility of signing the Barcelona star in December:
But as unlikely as a move for Messi may sound, one has to wonder what will happen if the relationship between the player and manager Enrique sour to the point of no return.
Messi can't just retire and will be in need of a new club. Rivals Real Madrid appear out of the question, and Paris Saint-Germain play in Ligue 1, which doesn't have the same pull as La Liga or the Premier League.
That leaves two options: A reunion with Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, who have refrained from signing high-priced stars as much as possible, or a move to the Premier League.
It's far too early to suggest Chelsea are serious players for Messi, and as of right now, a transfer still appears unlikely. But it will be interesting to see how the relationship between Enrique and Messi evolves from here, and if it does come to a split, the Blues could be in play to sign arguably the most wanted star of all time.