Gossip: Utd must ‘make Martial-like’ bid; £500m Messi to City

Matt Stead

Manchester City ‘do not want to be embarrassed again’ by Lionel Messi. Man Utd could struggle to sign Benoit Badiashile.


Lionel Messi, then. Fella is leaving Barcelona. It’s been in the news a bit. You might have heard.

He has more than a few suitors, but less than a handful when it comes to those who could actually afford it. Manchester City are among them, yet they ‘do not want to be embarrassed again’ in their latest pursuit.

The Sun exclusively add that City ‘were contacted’ by ‘an intermediary’ in the Messi camp a few days ago, with ‘talks’ underway and the Premier League club ‘in pole position’.

The legalities surrounding Messi’s Barcelona contract could still prove to be a problem. The club insist his £631.3m buy-out will be enforced as the player had to enact the clause allowing him to leave for free before June 10. But Messi will argue that the delay in ending the season means it ‘can still be triggered’.

Barca could then ‘lower the asking price to £150m,’ but his ‘contract and image rights’ would cost £210m over three years, taking the overall outlay to £360m.


But the Daily Telegraph are here to say that Messi ‘would cost half a billion pounds’. Which is not £360m.

The ‘sensational swoop’ would indeed involve a three-year stay at the Etihad, at the end of which Messi would move to sister club New York City FC in MLS, while ‘giving him the chance to become an ambassador for parent company City Football Group’.


The Times have a little more on ‘the biggest transfer coup that English football has ever seen’. City are ‘hopeful’, according to ‘insiders with knowledge of the negotiations’, that Messi can be signed. So there you go.


Man Utd have unsurprisingly distanced themselves from a move for the 33-year-old. Those noodle sponsors want a younger face to front their brand.

Another player who won’t be headed to Old Trafford is Benoit Badiashile, the subject of a rejected €25m bid. New Monaco manager Niko Kovac would quite like to keep the centre-half who was made to tuck in his chair by Thierry Henry that one time.

Mohamed Bouhafsi of RMC Sport says Monaco intend to ‘reject all bids for him’ in this window. A source adds that will not change “unless Manchester make a Martial-like, unrefusable bid for him”.

The Daily Mail are also at pains to tell us that Man Utd are ‘NOT pursuing’ Badiashile in a headline to a story outlining their renewed interest in Jack Grealish. The Monaco player is not mentioned again, weirdly.