Published On: Thu, Aug 27th, 2020

Arsenal transfer news: Mikel Arteta’s surprise Lionel Messi to Man City or Man Utd claim | Football | Sport

Messi this week made it clear he wants to leave Barcelona this summer, sending in a burofax to the Catalonian club to indicate his decision.

The 33-year-old attacker has spent his entire career at Barca, where he is the club’s record goalscorer with a phenomenal 627 goals in 718 appearances, on top of 247 assists.

But following the La Liga giants’ recent Champions League failures, and having ended the 2019-20 season trophyless as rivals Real Madrid won the league, Messi wants out.

Arteta is a boyhood Barca supporter but admits he would love to see Messi ply his trade in the Premier League, with the South American widely regarded as the best player in world football.

And with Arsenal unable to even think about contending for his signature, given his astronomical wages, Arteta admits he would even relish seeing Messi playing for City or United.

The two Manchester clubs are in the small clutch of teams across Europe who could feasibly afford Messi and could offer him Champions League football, with the No 10 said to be desperate to win the competition again having not done so since 2015.

Arsenal boss Arteta said: “He’s been linked everywhere. He has more clubs than any other player in history after him.

“I’ve been a Barcelona fan since I was young so it’s always sad to see what in my opinion has been the best player in football history leave that football club.

“But, I don’t know, let’s see what happens and if he comes to England, we are all going to enjoy it.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s against Arsenal. It’s good for football. If it’s not there we might find him in the Champions League.

“You want the best players in your league. For me, that is the best thing as an athlete, to have the most competitive league in the world.

“The Premier League always had that. With [Cristiano] Ronaldo, I played against him when he was great, it raises the level of every individual and every team as well.”

City are rated as the favourites to sign Messi, with Paris Saint-Germain or Inter Milan other potential landing spots.

At City, Messi would link up again with Pep Guardiola, under whom he enjoyed huge success at the Nou Camp, and the forward has long been linked to the Etihad.

Messi feels that he is entitled to a free transfer due to a clause in his contract but Barca insist that despite the extension of the football season due to the coronavirus crisis, that clause expired on June 10.

The Argentina international however feels he should be allowed to leave for free, which would increase the pool of clubs able to sign him, because their campaign did not finish until earlier this month when they were embarrassed by Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals, losing 8-2.

United legend Wayne Rooney has meanwhile implored six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi to consider a move to Old Trafford.

“I know he’s getting older but he’s a player who no-one has seen before,” he told talkSPORT.

“Messi has everything – he can create goals, score goals, dictate the game and is the best player of all time.

“He’s one of the only players I’ve sat there and watched and been in awe.

“Him and Cristiano Ronaldo have set a standard which I don’t think we will ever see again but, for me, Messi is just different level.

“The United States shouldn’t be in his mind because he’s too good.

“He could come to the Premier League and be a Player of the Year. One million per cent.

“If he surrounds himself with Bruno Fernandes [at United] or Kevin De Bruyne [at City], he could win a seventh Ballon d’Or, which would be incredible.”

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