Football transfer rumours: Messi to join Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia? – The Guardian

wp header logo 25.png

Today’s fluff is extremely weary
As January rolls on depressingly, so too does Saudi Arabia’s efforts to buy the concept of sport. Having lured Cristiano Ronaldo to Al Nassr with a massive amount of money the promise of “a new challenge”, the kingdom has now set its sights on Lionel Messi. Already a tourism ambassador for the country – and, as such, unlikely to be swayed by pesky moral objections over human rights and sportswashing – Messi is wanted by Al Nassr’s Riyadh rivals, Al Hilal. With Saudi Arabia expected to bid for the 2030 World Cup alongside Greece and Egypt, signing Messi would be a PR coup that, according to Mundo Deportivo, Al Hilal and their backers would value at around $300m a year.
Al Hilal are keen to sign Messi this month, though whether his current employers, Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain, would be happy to let one of their superstars leave six months before the end of his contract is another question. PSG will play a friendly against a team made up of players from Al Nassr and Al Hilal next week, so they can always thrash out the details then. The French league leaders could lose another player before the month is out, with Wolves keen on Pablo Sarabia. He has worked with Julen Lopetegui before, most notably with Spain’s youth teams, and with 18 months left on his contract he should be relatively affordable.
Sign up to Football Daily
Kick off your evenings with the Guardian's take on the world of football
Moving on to a former PSG player, Lucas Moura looks destined to leave Tottenham on a free transfer in the summer after the club declined to trigger an option to extend his contract by another year. They are interested in Leandro Trossard as a potential replacement, though Brighton would rather keep their squad together this month as they chase the dream of European football.
Meandering down the south coast, Southampton are considering a move for James Bree, the Luton defender, after Tino Livramento suffered a setback in his return from an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Nathan Jones knows Bree well from their time together at Kenilworth Road, though he has also been credited with an interest in Celtic’s Josip Juranovic.
Rounding off the Premier League’s south coast trifecta, Bournemouth may look to re-sign Arnaut Danjuma. While his first spell at Dean Court was a mixed bag, he has since gone on to impress for Villarreal in La Liga. He has previously expressed his willingness to return to England, which bodes well. Given his familiarity with the club, Bournemouth are confident of securing an initial loan until the end of the season with a view to a potential extension.
The outlook is less positive for clubs interested in Youssoufa Moukoko, with Manchester United, Chelsea and Newcastle reportedly among them. According to Sky Germany, there has been a breakthrough in his contract talks with Borussia Dortmund and he could now stay at the Westfalenstadion. He is in line for a new four-year contract, which should dampen speculation over his future. Until the summer, that is.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *