Lionel Messi: Barcelona choose top replacement amid Man City and PSG transfer links

Barcelona: Koeman on Messi's future after defeat

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Lionel Messi’s Barcelona future remains uncertain. And reports claim the Catalan giants have chosen their dream replacement should the Argentina international leave the Nou Camp behind. Both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are keen on the 33-year-old, who will become a free agent this summer.

Messi has spent the entirety of his professional career with Barcelona.

He’s become a footballing titan during that time, establishing himself as one of the greatest players the game has ever seen.

Messi wanted to leave Barcelona last summer, believing he was entitled to quit the Nou Camp for free because of a clause in his contract.

That didn’t ultimately happen, with the Argentina international forced to remain in Catalonia.

Messi has continued to give his all to Barcelona, scoring 24 goals and registering eight assists across all competitions this term.

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Yet a parting of the ways is still a possibility, with Manchester City and PSG both eager to secure his signature at the end of the campaign.

And, if Messi leaves, OKDiario claim Barcelona will pursue a deal for Borussia Dortmund hitman Erling Haaland.

Haaland has been in sublime form this season, scoring a total of 37 goals from 35 matches for club and country this term.

And he’s been a major success at Dortmund ever since his arrival from Red Bull Salzburg 14 months ago, scoring 48 times from 49 appearances.

The report says Barcelona would love to sign Haaland because it would upset Real Madrid, who are also keen on a deal for the 20-year-old amid the inconsistency of Karim Benzema.

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And new Barca president Joan Laporta has a good relationship with the player’s agent, Mino Raiola, which makes a deal feasible.

Barcelona are in a mess financially behind the scenes but, by getting Messi off the wage bill, it would free up funds.

Yet their path to Haaland is far from straightforward, with the Dortmund striker also wanted by Europe’s elite.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is eager to recruit Haaland, believing the forward would be the ideal upgrade on the likes of Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.

Chelsea are keen, too, with Thomas Tuchel eager to sign a world-class striker amid the inconsistency of Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud this season.

And whether Barcelona can make themselves attractive enough to be at the front of the queue for Haaland remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, speaking recently, former Manchester City star Pablo Zabaleta urged Messi to move to the Etihad Stadium instead of the Parc des Princes.

Zabaleta said: “If Lionel Messi ­decides to leave Barcelona and he wants to play in the best league then he has to experience the Premier League for himself.

“It is something that will ­interest him – because every player I know always asks me what the Premier League is like.

“Leo has been in La Liga for so many years and I think it would be a huge ­attraction for him to experience English football.

“And Manchester City offer the ­perfect conditions.

“He knows Pep very well, he knows [sporting director] Txiki Begiristain and [chief executive] Ferran Soriano – and also Kun Aguero.

“It would be a big ­decision if Leo leaves ­Barcelona. But if that’s what he wants then it would be a good thing for him to go to a club that has people already there who can help him to settle.

“When you have been at one club for so long, moving ­somewhere new can be very strange.

“I am sure clubs like ­Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus would also be ­interested in signing him, but it is my opinion that City would be the best place to go after Barcelona.”

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