Lionel Messi’s Barcelona future still up in the air, Manchester City on alert

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Deadline day has come and gone, and all the latest deals and potential deals can be found here, but there’s plenty brewing in the market as clubs begin to look toward January.

Messi to quit Barcelona?

Lionel Messi is considering his future at Barcelona after a turbulent transfer window saw the club lose Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain and struggle to bring in a number of key targets.

Ernesto Valverde’s side have won their first two matches in La Liga, but that has failed to paper over the cracks as the Catalan giants risk falling further behind Real Madrid this season.

The club held a news conference on Saturday to explain their transfer dealings, but Messi is apparently less than impressed by recent developments.

The Mail reports that at one stage during the briefing, director Albert Soler began detailing Messi’s exit until club secretary Robert Fernandez reminded him: “You mean Neymar.”

That Freudian slip has set tongues wagging in Spain, with serious fears that Messi could leave when his contract expires next summer. According to the Sun, Manchester City lead the queue for the Argentine and a reunion with former boss Pep Guardiola might appeal.

Come Jan. 1, Lionel Messi will be free to negotiate contract terms with all clubs based outside of Spain.

Lemar wanted Monaco exit

Arsenal and Liverpool have been encouraged over their interest in Thomas Lemar, with Monaco vice president Vadim Vasilyev revealing that the midfielder was keen to join either club during the transfer window.

The Premier League duo both made bids for the 21-year-old in the days and hours leading up to the deadline but ran out of time to finalise a last-ditch transfer.

“Thomas wanted to go to Arsenal and to Liverpool, but we had discussions, and we took a communal decision so that he could stay here,” Vasilyev told Russian outlet TASS.

“He is a very important player for us. We could not have sold him. It would have affected the entire team and the individuals.”

Arsene Wenger has suggested that it was Lemar who turned down a £90 million move to Arsenal, hinting that the Gunners will be back in for the France international when the window re-opens in January.

Toby or not Toby?

Toby Alderweireld is weighing his options at Tottenham as he waits to see if the club will offer him an improved contract.

The 28-year-old played a key role in Spurs finishing second in the Premier League last season, but so far there has been no movement on a new deal, handing encouragement to a long list of suitors.

According to the Sun, Alderweireld’s current contract doesn’t expire until 2020 but — similar to Danny Rose earlier in the summer — the defender expects to be rewarded for his fine form.

“When you look at Toby’s statistics, they are impressive. Either he deserves an appropriate contract, or else he should be given a transfer,” said Alderweireld’s advisor, Stijn Francis.

“Seven or eight big European clubs are interested in signing him.”

Toby Alderweireld reportedly wants a pay rise to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.

Tap-ins

Emre Can is a January target for Juventus as he delays committing to a new contract at Liverpool, claims the Independent. The midfielder’s current deal expires next summer, and he is free to discuss terms with foreign clubs from the start of 2018.

— Chelsea could sue Diego Costa for £50 million if he fails to return from Brazil, reports the Daily Express. The striker has been included in the Blues’ Premier League squad after a move to Atletico Madrid was put on hold and still has two years left on his £185,000-a-week contract.

— West Ham are also set to lawyer up after co-chairman David Sullivan was labelled a “liar” and a “parasite” by Sporting Lisbon director Nuno Saraiva. According to the Independent, Saraiva claims that the Portuguese club never received a bid from the Hammers for midfielder William Carvalho, with the fallout from negotiations set to rumble on.

— Despite his frustrations over a lack of investment, Rafa Benitez will battle on at Newcastle. The Daily Mail claims the former Liverpool boss would have to pay £5 million to walk away from his contract, but there has been talk of West Ham lining him up as a replacement for the beleaguered Slaven Bilic.

— Free agent Bacary Sagna is a target for Leicester City. The 34-year-old left Manchester City when his contract expired in June, and sources close to the player have told ESPN FC that a move to the King Power Stadium is on the cards.

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Article source: http://www.espnfc.com/blog/transfer-talk/79/post/3195718/lionel-messi-barcelona-future-still-up-in-the-air

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