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Contrary to reports circulating in the English media, the Premier League giants haven’t abandoned their pursuit of the Argentina international.
Messi tried to leave Barcelona this summer but stayed put after ex-President Josep Maria Bartomeu refused to grant him his wish of departing on a free transfer. However, with only a few months remaining in his current deal with Barca, it looks likely Messi will get his wish next summer.
international spend numerous years playing in the English top-flight, after which the City Football Group (CFG) will offer Messi the opportunity to play for one of their eight sides.
Once the Argentine decides to hang in his boots – which City believe won’t happen until he’s in his 40s – CFG would like to cash in on his global appeal by offering him an ambassadorial role within the group, thereby offering Messi a plan long after his playing days are behind him.
Merino has been one of the star performers for Imanol Alguacil’s side this season and is a major reason behind their unexpected position at the top of La Liga. The 22-year-old won’t come cheap, though, as La Real rate him at €50m.
Kroos, 30, joined Real Madrid from Bayern Munich in the summer of 2014 and went on to become one of the best players in his position. His ball-holding ability and the knack to connect defense with attack has helped Los Blancos win 13 titles during the German’s stay in Spain.
However, as is the case with former Madrid players who went on to represent Los Blancos into their 30s, the midfielder’s long-term future at Santiago Bernabeu is certain, with the club’s hierarchy already looking at options they could bring in to replace the 6’ midfielder.
Although Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have both been on fire for the Nerazzurri, the club’s higher-ups want to give Antonio Conte more options up front.
Top of the list is Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik. The 26-year-old Poland international was previously on the transfer radar of Tottenham Hotspur and now looks set to leave the Sao Paolo stadium, mainly because his contract with Gennaro Gattuso’s side will run out next summer.
However, if Gli Azzurri refuse to budge from their € 18m valuation of the striker – which Inter believe is too steep for a player who can land on a free next summer, Antonio Conte's side will then turn their attentions to either Parma striker Gervinho or Chelsea's Olivier Giroud.
Among the two strikers, Giroud seems a more plausible option for Inter given that the Frenchman is willing to leave Frank Lampard's team to brighten up his chances of being named in Didier Deschamps's side for next summer's EURO 2020.
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