Barcelona transfer news: Messi not keen on Griezmann, Lemar boost and more - 22 January 2018
Lionel Messi favours his countryman over Antoine Griezmann
The Atletico Madrid superstar has been linked with Barcelona and Manchester United for quite some time now with Sport reporting a "secret pact" between the player and La Blaugrana. However, the club squashed the news in an official statement stating no such agreement exists.
Now, Don Balon claims that Lionel Messi has put an end to the move. The Argentine does not believe in spending €100 million on Griezmann, especially after signing the likes of Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho. As per the outlet, Messi has informed the board that Griezmann will not provide the kind of impact one can expect from a signing of that magnitude.
Instead, Messi has suggested Paulo Dybala as an alternative as per Don Balon. Now, it remains to be seen whether Barcelona will go for Dybala as he will be priced much higher than Griezmann.
Meanwhile, Diario Gol reports that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has a "secret pact" with Griezmann to sign him in the summer with the club supremo willing to better any pay package that Barcelona will offer the 26-year old.
Further, Marca backs the claim and states that the signing of Theo Hernandez in 2017 eases the path for this transfer as the capital clubs are rumoured to have an agreement to not trade players.
If Griezmann ends up at the Bernabeu instead of Camp Nou, then it could turn out to be a huge blow for the Catalan club.
Thomas Lemar chooses his next destination
The AS Monaco playmaker has been in the news since the summer with English clubs, Arsenal and Liverpool, looking to sign the 22-year old. However, in a huge setback to the Premier League clubs, the Frenchman has informed AS Monaco of his desire to join Barcelona, as per the Daily Star.
Backing the claim is the Mirror, which states that Lemar has set his heart on a move to the Camp Nou and wants to be a part of the rebuilding project under Ernesto Valverde after Neymar's departure to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).
Recently, AS Monaco manager, Leonardo Jardim spoke about the situation and stated that anything can happen in the current market. He said:
"Today, the market is open. You know how crazy the market is.Things happen that even a club like Monaco cannot say no to. It happened to Liverpool [with Coutinho]. Things are as they are. The numbers today are incredibly big. Everything can change. The things I can say today are not true tomorrow."
Thus, if Barcelona end up signing Lemar, they get to reinforce the squad with not only a high-quality player but also a playmaker who can stay at Camp Nou for the best part of a decade.
Rafinha's father talks about Inter move
The Brazilian has fallen down the pecking order at Camp Nou and injuries have blighted his chances of impressing Valverde this season. Meanwhile, the arrivals of Dembele and Coutinho have further affected the 24-year old's playing time.
Thus, Rafinha is looking for more playing time and ESPN claimed the midfielder has agreed to a loan move to Serie A side Inter Milan with an option to buy for €35 million, rising to €38 million. Also, the Italian side are obligated to buy the player if they secure Champions League for next season.
Now, Rafinha's father, Mazinho, has all but confirmed the move and he told Diario Sport:
"Rafinha's objective is just to play. It's difficult for him to do that at Barcelona. There are a lot of good players [in his position] and it's been similar for five years now."
"He's had bad luck with injuries in these last two years and he just wants to play and feel happy doing what he likes doing at an excellent club like Inter. We hope that these three or four months will help him get back into the Brazil squad for the World Cup. He's going to take advantage of this chance in Italy."
Thus, Rafinha gets to prove his worth elsewhere and if he manages to impress at San Siro, then Barcelona stand to benefit financially, making this a good deal for La Blaugrana.