Barcelona transfer news: Messi's say on transfers, Blind urged to make January move and more - 24th December 2017
Guillem Balague confirms Messi's influence over incomings
The Argentine has always been rumoured to have a say in the transfer business of the Catalan club. However, as one would expect, this point was never proven and always remained an assumption. Recently, summer signing Paulinho revealed how Messi encouraged his move in a friendly match between Brazil and Argentina. Now, Spanish football expert, Guillem Balague, has spoken about the same and told:
“Messi smiles when he sees Paulinho and they like each other. They met in a friendly in the summer with the national sides and basically Messi was saying to him ‘are you coming?’ and Paulinho said 'I will if you want me’. That’s what was happening.
“Messi by the way, and Thierry (Henry) will know this, knows everything that’s happening at Barcelona.“So when he’s asking ‘are you coming?’ he’s actually saying ‘we want you here’. It’s not that he has to prove it, but he has to be comfortable with the people around him both on and off the pitch."
The new contract signed by the Argentine could only have increased his influence on whom the club signs while it also implies that the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann have his seal of approval to join the Blaugrana.
Louis van Gaal urges Daley Blind to join Barcelona
Blind is currently at the periphery of Jose Mourinho's Manchester United squad, making only sporadic appearances. Meanwhile, Barcelona's lack of defensive depth has led to the club looking to sign a centre-back in January.
However, the Blaugrana realise signing a top defender in the winter transfer market is as difficult as it gets and are therefore looking for an alternative. Chelsea's David Luiz has been linked with a move along with United's Blind. Now, former United manager Louis van Gaal has urged his countryman to make the switch. He said:
"Daley Blind is better off going to Barcelona, than staying with Man United. He is not even on the bench for United sometimes. Daley can play in more than one position and at Barcelona, he would never be sat in the stand."
"I think Daley would fit in better at Barcelona anyway. His level and his style of play is more suited to Spain than England. He can operate as a central defender who builds up the play. He can be a defensive midfielder or an attacking left back. Daley can do it all."
On one hand, Van Gaal's personal bitterness after being sacked could be considered to be one of the reasons behind his comments. However, he does make a valid point about Blind having a good chance to prove to be a good signing for Ernesto Valverde.
Barcelona not optimistic about signing Coutinho in January
The Coutinho saga refuses to come to an end as Liverpool do not look like selling the player anytime soon and Barcelona are unwilling to let go of their pursuit. Despite the Brazilian unwilling to commit his immediate future to Liverpool and several Barcelona players endorsing the move, it is nowhere close to happening. La Liga expert Guillem Balague shared the same opinion when he said:
“Liverpool don't want to sell Coutinho. That's where they stand right now, so Barcelona are not optimistic about the possibility of Coutinho going there."
"Obviously they will try and they want to make an offer in January, but even Coutinho's entourage are thinking it probably won't happen, because Liverpool are saying the same as what they said in the summer: 'We are not interested in selling'."
Thus, the Blaugrana might have to wait until summer to secure the signature of their top target.