Liverpool rivals round-up: Lionel Messi has reportedly accepted a huge offer to follow Cristiano Ronaldo, while Chelsea could land a player linked with Liverpool.
With the season now over for Liverpool, all thoughts turn toward the transfer market ahead of a busy summer.
Jürgen Klopp’s side is expected to be among the clubs doing the most business over the next few months following what has been a disappointing campaign on all fronts. Chief among the Reds’ priorities will be a host of new midfielders, having been confronted with a number of issues in that area over the past 12 months.
With Jörg Schmadtke now installed as the club’s new sporting director, the work can begin in earnest, with no shortage of names being linked with moves to Anfield.
But while fans will no doubt be keeping a close eye on the incomings and outgoings on Merseyside, there’ll also be plenty of interest in some of Liverpool’s rivals. To that end, there is a major update on the future of Lionel Messi, while Chelsea could have their eye on a player linked to the Reds.
Here, Liverpool.com takes a scan around the other big sides in the Premier League and around Europe to take a look at the news going on at the other clubs.
Messi ‘accepts’ $1.2bn Saudi Arabia deal
Lionel Messi has reportedly accepted a $1.2bn (£1bn/€1.2bn) offer to join Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal.
Liverpool.com says: There seems to be an air of inevitability about Messi leaving PSG this summer, although it would be sad to see arguably the greatest player of all time leave Europe to play in a much inferior league.
Ronaldo, among others, has perhaps set a precedent for the world’s top players to chase a huge wage packet at the end of their careers. Either way, it seems pretty clear the Messi-Ronaldo era is coming to an end.
Chelsea ready to meet Ugarte release clause
Manuel Ugarte will reportedly decide between Chelsea and PSG this summer as he eyes up a move away from Sporting CP, despite claims of interest from Liverpool.
According to Record, Ugarte could become Mauricio Pochettino’s first signing at Stamford Bridge, with both Chelsea and PSG ready to meet Sporting’s $65m (£52m/€60m) release clause.
That’s despite Liverpool having been strongly linked with a move for the midfielder in recent weeks, with the Reds’ interest having seemingly cooled as they pursue other options.
Liverpool.com says: It didn’t take long for Chelsea to start being linked with more players again. Despite the disastrous season the Blues endured, the appointment of Pochettino looks as though it will just lead to even more signings.
Although Ugarte had been linked to Liverpool, a potential move to Stamford Bridge could have a knock-on effect for another player. Although he plays in a more defensive role to Mason Mount, Ugarte’s arrival would hasten the need for Chelsea to offload players, which could work in the Reds’ favor.