Rumour Has It: Barca haven't moved to re-sign Messi as Neymar return looms

By Sports Desk April 07, 2021

Lionel Messi's future is a popular topic.

Messi wanted to leave Barcelona at the start of the season but opted to remain at Camp Nou.

With his contract expiring at the end of 2020-21, the Barca superstar is continuing to make headlines.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI WAITING ON BARCA

Barcelona have yet to make a move to re-sign superstar captain Lionel Messi, according to the front page of Wednesday's Marca.

Messi is out of contract at the end of the season and his future is far from certain, having been tipped to join either Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City.

Led by new president Joan Laporta, Barca are determined to retain the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo reports Ousmane Dembele wants to continue with Barca, but speculation is mounting that Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar could return to Camp Nou. Neymar – who left Barca for PSG in a world-record €222million deal in 2017 – has been negotiating a new contract in the French capital. Dembele has previously been linked with Manchester United.

Manchester City are eyeing a new striker but they are unwilling to spend "crazy" money, claims Fabrizio Romano. With Sergio Aguero – linked with Chelsea, Inter, PSG and Barcelona – leaving on a free transfer, Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland has emerged as City's prime target, while Tottenham star Harry Kane is another option.

- Goal says Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli and Juventus' Federico Bernardeschi could swap clubs. Both players have struggled this season and they could reportedly be involved in an exchange deal. Romagnoli has attracted interest from Barca and Chelsea.

- Eurosport reports United and Liverpool could go head-to-head in a battle to sign RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. The 21-year-old has been heavily linked with Liverpool, but United are also interested. Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane, Villarreal's Pau Torres and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly are also reportedly being monitored at Old Trafford.

- Romano claims there are "huge chances" for Hector Bellerin to leave Arsenal. The Spaniard was previously linked with PSG and Barca.

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    Milan ended a three-game winless run at home with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Serie A's bottom club Salernitana on Saturday.

    First-half goals from Franck Kessie and Alexis Saelemaekers eased the league leaders to three points at San Siro.

    It should have been a more one-sided scoreline, the Rossoneri spurning a host of second-half chances through Brahim Diaz and Junior Messias to extend their lead.

    The contest was firmly in Milan's control almost from the off. Kessie squeezed a left-foot shot into the bottom-right corner with just five minutes played, and both Saelemaekers and Brahim were whiskers away from adding a second.

    Milan suffered a blow when Pietro Pellegri was forced off injured after a quarter of an hour, but a deserved second goal soon followed, Saelemaekers given time to consider a cross before placing a fine finish beyond Vid Belec's reach from just inside the box.

    Rade Krunic was denied by Belec and Kessie side-footed wide just before the interval, with Alessio Romagnoli heading wide just after the restart.

    It began to look a case of when rather than if Milan would score again: Fikayo Tomori nodded wide and Messias was denied by a fine one-handed save from Belec, who also smothered the ball at the feet of the lively Brahim.

    Messias stung the palms of Belec from the edge of the box and both Brahim and Sandro Tonali prodded wide with the goal at their mercy, but the risk of a Salernitana comeback was never on the cards.

    What does it mean? Rossoneri put pressure on chasing pack

    Having lost 11 of their first 15 league games this season, few expected Salernitana to spring a surprise at San Siro and the contest looked over as soon as Kessie broke the deadlock.

    The result leaves Stefano Colantuono's side bottom, while Milan's lead at the top is at two points ahead of Inter's tricky trip to Jose Mourinho's Roma and Napoli's home game with Atalanta.

    A fitting tribute

    Saelemaekers celebrated his goal by holding up a Simon Kjaer shirt in support of the centre-back, whose season has been ended by injury.

    It was a moment to cap a lively overall performance. Saelemaekers attempted the most opposition-half passes (41) and open-play crosses (three) from the right of the Milan attack.

    Sinking feeling

    Nadir Zortea tested Mike Maignan late in the first half, after which Salernitana failed to trouble the Milan keeper with a shot on target.

    It is hard to see how they will haul themselves out of trouble if their attacking play does not improve.

    What's next?

    Milan host Udinese next Saturday but, before then, there is the small matter of a home Champions League clash with Liverpool that offers the chance to qualify for the last 16.

  • Bowen: West Ham never know when we are beaten Bowen: West Ham never know when we are beaten

    Jarrod Bowen insists West Ham "never know when we are beaten" after the Hammers came back from behind to earn a shock 3-2 victory over London rivals Chelsea on Saturday. 

    Chelsea twice took the lead in the first half through Thiago Silva and Mason Mount, but Manuel Lanzini and Bowen netted equalisers before Arthur Masuaku's cross caught Edouard Mendy out at his near post and won the game for West Ham.  

    Bowen explained the Hammers pride themselves on their spirit and never-say-die attitude - which has helped them to fourth in the Premier League this season. 

    "That is what we are about as a team, the character, the belief," Bowen said to BT Sport after the game. "We hung in sometimes when it was difficult. 

    "We never know when we are beaten, we went behind twice but showed that reaction and a lot better performance. 

    "We wanted to be on the front foot and press them aggressively and not let them play, which they are good at. We wanted to limit what their game plan was. 

    "We haven't won in a few games and have been disappointed in ourselves, but to come back and beat Chelsea, what a performance." 

    West Ham manager David Moyes was critical of his side's performance despite the positive result, but praised the clinical finishing of his team, who scored three times from just five shots on target. 

    "Truthfully, I didn't think we played that well today," Moyes said. "But we got the goals and in other games I don't think we played any worse or any better but we haven't got the goals. 

    "Today we got the goals to go with it, and to get them against a team that don't concede many is a great credit to the lads. 

    "We were much better [in the second half]. We were too passive and submissive in the first half. 

    "They are quality, that is why they are European champions because of the level they can play at. Whether you press them or stay off them, they are very good at both." 

    Moyes felt Masuaku was attempting to cross the ball and was lucky to see it go in for the first Premier League goal of his career. 

    "I said to [Masuaku] that I thought it was a great cross," Moyes added. "It was very fortunate, the goal, but in football you need a bit of fortune sometimes. In the last few games we have lost it a little bit, but today we got it back." 

  • West Ham 3-2 Chelsea: Hammers fight back to claim thrilling derby win West Ham 3-2 Chelsea: Hammers fight back to claim thrilling derby win

    Arthur Masuaku scored a late winner as West Ham fought back to beat Premier League leaders Chelsea 3-2 in a thrilling London derby.

    Thiago Silva's header put the European champions in front at the London Stadium, but Manuel Lanzini thumped a penalty home in the 40th minute to level following mistakes from Jorginho and Edouard Mendy.

    Mason Mount's magnificent volley at the end of the first half put Chelsea back in the lead, but Jarrod Bowen curled in a superb low strike to pull the Hammers level once again.

    The Blues - bolstered by Romelu Lukaku's presence off the bench at half-time - pressed for a winner, but slumped to their second top-flight defeat of the season after Masuaku's cross caught Mendy out at his near post with three minutes of normal time remaining.

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