Gossip: Messi to City, Gotze to Liverpool. Is it 2014?

Daniel Storey

On November 19, 2016, the Daily Mirror’s Simon Mullock wrote that Manchester City had launched ‘Operation Lionel Messi’.

In that story, Mullock wrote:

‘Messi will have only a year left on his Barca contract at the end of the season, and the Blues’ Abu Dhabi-based owners are prepared to smash through the £100m barrier to sign the best player in the world.

‘A £500,000-a-week basic salary and an extensive package of bonuses would also put Messi in a league of his own in England when it comes to wages.’

The story was accompanied by a ‘10 things that will definitely happen if Lionel Messi really does sign for Manchester City’ feature.

On February 19, 2017, three months to the day after that story, the Daily Mirror’s Simon Mullock writes:

‘Manchester City believe Lionel Messi is ready to quit Barcelona. Etihad bosses have made signing the Argentine ace for Pep Guardiola their No 1 priority this summer.

‘And City’s confidence that they can seal a world-record £100million deal for the five-time world player of the year has received a double boost in recent days.’

The story is accompanied by a ‘10 things that will definitely happen if Lionel Messi really does sign for Manchester City’ feature. It’s the same feature with a different date. The author of that feature no longer even works at the Mirror.

You’ll forgive us for being doubtful of these latest rumours, but here’s what Lionel Messi has always said:

“I have always said that Barcelona is my home and that I want to retire at this club, but I was talking about my European career there. I could never play for another European club than Barcelona. But I would like to play in Argentina, because I left when I was still little. I would like to know how it is to be part of the Argentine game.”

And here’s what Pep Guardiola said literally two days ago:

“I said many times about Messi, my desire is that he will finish his career at Barcelona.”

Other than that…


Sorry, have I woken up in 2014? Messi is being linked with a move to Manchester City for £100m, and now we’re told by Adrian Kajumba in the Mirror that Liverpool have opened talks over a £20m move for Borussia Dortmund’s Mario Gotze.

Kajumba writes that talks between Liverpool and Dortmund are ‘understood to have taken place’, with Gotze not performing at the same level as he did during his previous spell at the Westfalenstadion.

The story is light on detail, but says that Gotze is looking for a move away from Dortmund, and that they will want to recoup the £20m they paid for him.

Another thing to mention is that we have seen a massive increase in transfer gossip stories from the Daily Mirror recently. At least two of our daily gossip segments are now sourced from them, and it’s no overreaction to say that their hit rate is decreasing all the time. Shame really.


In our top ten predictions for 2017, one of them was that Mauricio Pochettino would leave Tottenham for a Spanish giant, which meant whichever of Barcelona or Real Madrid decided to change their manager.

After Barcelona’s shambolic 4-0 defeat in Paris on Tuesday, those Tottenham fears are surely closer to being realised. In the Daily Express, Neil Fissler has an exclusive that Barcelona have lined up Pochettino to replace Luis Enrique.

Sure, but we’re left with one nagging question: How the heck did Fissler get a Barcelona exclusive that every Spanish newspaper missed?


Adam Lallana will seal a new four-year contract, worth £31.2m, at Liverpool this week… West Ham have entered the race to land Paris Saint-Germain left-back Fode Ballo-Toure… Bayern Munich are preparing a massive £30m offer for Celtic’s in-demand attacker Moussa Dembele… Everton are ready to offer Kasper Schmeichel an ­escape route out of Leicester… Liverpool will take advantage of uncertainty about who will manage next season by hijacking their move for highly rated Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell… Everton are ready to go head to head with Manchester City as the battle to land Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford starts to gather pace.