What Lionel Messi can bring to Chelsea and the Premier League
In light of the news that Chelsea are reportedly set to launch a £200m bid for Barcelona star Lionel Messi, who have told the 24-year-old that there is a six-year contract waiting for him at Stamford Bridge, Coral run the rule over the possibility of a potential move.
The Blues, who are odds-on at 8/13 with Coral to win the Premier League this season, would pull off a significant coup if they landed Argentina captain Messi, widely regarded in some quarters to be the best player in the World. As a result, we analyse how he would fit in at Chelsea, and the impact he would have on the Premier League.
Currently, Jose Mourinho operates with a 4-2-3-1 system, with Diego Costa the favoured frontman, and mainly Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian deployed just behind him. Further back, Cesc Fabregas, who generally interchanges with Oscar, and Nemanja Matic make up the two and the back five tends to pick itself.
As it stands, this would present a problem for Mourinho. Does he change his system to accommodate Messi? Barcelona play a 4-3-3 and the Portuguese manager won two Premier League titles utilising the same formation. This would likely mean that Willian is the one to miss out, with Hazard, Costa and Messi making up a front three, and Matic, Oscar and Fabregas comprising the midfield trio
Messi will have looked at the impact that former Barca colleague Fabregas has had since coming back to the Premier League, and the assists he has provided for Costa, which will no doubt be an attractive factor. There is no doubt that a player of Messi’s quality will adapt to the Premier League. He has scored 377 goals and contributed 164 assists in 448 appearances for Barcelona and he would hit the ground running at Chelsea.
Ballon d’Or nominee and former multiple winner Messi is 6/1 to have joined Chelsea by the end of 2015, and the Blues would have no problem spending £200m despite new Financial Fair Play regulations.
They have steadily built up their global presence over the last few years, utilising a well-executed marketing and recruitment strategy and could expect to recoup a considerable amount of that outlay in merchandising.
Barca have both Neymar and Luis Suarez ready to step into Messi’s shoes, plus the hugely talented youngster, Munir El-Haddadi, who has been tipped to have the same impact that the Argentine has had over the years.