The Escher Gossip

Lionel Messi to become the highest paid player in the world, Demba Ba off to sunny Italy, Arsenal in for Bender brother...

Last Updated: 26/03/14 at 09:11 Post Comment

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Oh Cristiano, it was going so well. First there was the deal that made you the highest-paid player in the world, and then the Ballon D'Or - all looked rosy. Fast forward a couple of months, and your nemesis Lionel Messi has scored a hat-trick in the Clasico in your own back yard, and now it appears Barcelona wish in turn to make Messi the most handsomely-rewarded player going.

The Daily Telegraph report that, whilst the Argentinean has a contract that runs until 2018, new Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu is keen to stave off any interest from abroad by bumping up Messi's pay packet once more.

"We all want Messi to be the best-paid player in the world and that is what we are working on," Bartomeu said. "Right now we are concentrating on the competitions we are in but it will happen soon. Nobody here wants to sell Messi. You cannot sell Leo. He arrived here when he was 13 and he is one of ours."

£336,000 a week and 100% of his own image rights probably will tempt him to stay, that's for sure. Only just over the cost of a Wayne Rooney.

The advice from pretty much all quarters for Arsenal this summer would go something like this: 'Buy some players. Some good players. Do it quickly. Pay the money. Make it feel good again.'

The Daily Mail this morning seem to believe that the club will take this strict advice, talking as they do of a move for Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender. Arsenal reportedly offered £19million for Bender last summer, and Arsene Wenger wants to return to the Bundesliga to make a second approach.

The paper believes that Wenger wants Bender to be the eventual replacement for 32-year-old Mikel Arteta, but also mentions Ilkay Gundogan and Morgan Schneiderlin as alternative options.

Not a hugely surprising one this, with The Sun claiming that Demba Ba will be released by Chelsea when his contract expires this summer.

Ba has started just three matches in all competitions this season under Jose Mourinho, and has never really looked like possessing the quality required to operate at the highest level in the Premier League.

The talk in the paper is that he may try his luck in Italy (after already playing in England and Germany), but wouldn't necessarily rule out France as an option if you ask us.

Southampton will make a move for Leeds full-back Sam Byram, 20, if they lose right-back Calum Chambers in the summer. Chambers has been linked to Manchester United and Arsenal... Bacary Sagna has turned down a £9m offer from Inter Milan - and now looks set to sign on a free for Manchester City this summer.

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