Barcelona Release Five-Player Transfer Wish List That Will Persuade Lionel Messi To Stay
Struggling La Liga giants Barcelona have put together a five-player summer transfer wish list that they hope will persuade Lionel Messi to stay at the club.
Barcelona were in the news as police searched the club's offices amid a corruption investigation named 'Barcagate'. The club's relationship with their greatest ever player Messi has also deteriorated in the past 12 months, with the captain attempting to leave last year.
Messi can walk away for free this summer - with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain lying in wait - but Barcelona hope to keep the 33-year-old happy by giving him some assistance on the pitch.
From a team of world-class superstars, Barcelona have gradually been reduced to near-total 'Messi-dependency' as they have got their recruitment strategy badly wrong.
But this shopping list could help matters. According to the Express, Barcelona are aiming to sign five players to help rebuild their squad and persuade Messi to re-sign.
Erling Haaland is top of their shopping list, the 20-year-old Borussia Dortmund goal machine who may have a series of release clauses built into his contract (although none of them are likely to be cheap). He is also desired by pretty much every other major club in Europe.
Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt is also wanted to join his former Ajax teammate Frenkie de Jong at Camp Nou and provide some stability at the back.
A cheaper defensive option might be Jules Kounde, Sevilla's 22-year-old rising star - although Kounde (who can play at centre-back or right-back) is also reportedly on Manchester United's shopping list.
Far more affordably, given they are coming to the end of their contracts, are a pair of Premier League stars.
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Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has long been linked to a summer move to Barcelona, while Man City legend Sergio Aguero is a close friend of Messi - and the 32-year-old could be coming to the end of his amazing run with City.
The latter two are realistic given they would in theory be free transfers (although you still have to account for their wages).
How a club that's reportedly €1 billion in debt could possibly sign Haaland, De Ligt, Koude - and keep Messi on anything close to his current wages - is a different matter.
The Argentine No 10 has managed to put the chaos at his club to one side this season and has returned to his best form in recent months. But even Messi cannot compensate for the issues Barcelona have in other areas of the pitch.
Messi was upset when his friend Luis Suarez was allowed to leave the club and join Atletico Madrid in the summer. That on the back of Barca losing another player Messi was close to, Neymar, in 2017 (then wasting most of Brazilian's world-record £200 million fee on poor signings).
Whether the arrival of Haaland, De Ligt, Koude, Wijnaldum and Aguero can keep Messi happy at Camo Nou is one question.
How cash-strapped Barcelona could even pull off such a transfer coup is an even bigger issue.
All imagery: PA Images
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