Messi’s Saudi Pro League deal in doubt? Chelsea and Newcastle in sensational late bids

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • Updated: 3 Jun 2023 21:01 BST
  • 4 min read
Lionel Messi, PSG, 2022/23
© ProShots

Lionel Messi’s exit from PSG has been confirmed – but while the Barcelona legend is widely expected to move to the Saudi Pro League, there are reports from Argentina that Premier League clubs Chelsea and Newcastle are making a late play.

Messi has long been expected to depart PSG, where he has had a tumultuous couple of seasons since leaving Barcelona, and Saturday’s announcement that he would depart Parc des Prince was long forecast.

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Three clubs have primarily been vying to sign him, though it appeared that Al-Hilal of the Saudi Pro League had won the race ahead of Barcelona and David Beckham’s Inter Miami. Indeed, reports from Spain state that Messi’s unveiling as a rival once again to Cristiano Ronaldo is expected as early as Tuesday.

MORE: Ronaldo calls Messi to make Saudi Pro League move

According to Argentine journalist Pablo Gravellone, there is a late play by the two Premier League giants to make a deal that would fulfil Messi’s desire of staying in Europe.

“From England, it’s assured today that Chelsea and Newcastle have entered the race to sign Messi,” he claims on Twitter.

MORE: Messi and Ronaldo to be joined by all-time great in Saudi Pro League

Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos
© ProShots - Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos

Could Messi really move to the Premier League?

Both clubs have much ground to make up on the Saudi Pro League bid if they are to attract the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Chelsea’s greatest challenge is arguably their lack of Champions League football, while they have a clutch of attacking midfielders and are lacking a centre-forward. Nevertheless, attracting Messi would be considered a marquee move from Todd Boehly, who might also hope that the Argentine’s creative magic might make up for their finishing shortcomings.

Similarly, Newcastle may have promised not to spend big this summer, but Messi arriving on a free transfer may be seen as a bold statement, while the links to Saudi Arabia may pave the way to a Pro League move down the line.

Nevertheless, Al-Hilal remain strong favourites to complete this deal, with everything apparently in line to make their Messi dream a reality. It would take an incredible turn of events from here to thwart that.

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