Lionel Messi staying at Barcelona set to have impact on Liverpool transfer plans

Barcelona have avoided the potential transfer embarrassment of losing Lionel Messi for free this summer and now they’ll want to move on quickly with other plans. Messi had indicated earlier this summer that he was ready to leave the Nou Camp in news that sent shockwaves around Barcelona and the world of football.

He dropped the bombshell news in August that he intended to leave on a free transfer, however a legal battle then ensued as Barcelona refused to recognise a break in his contract.

Messi looked for a way around it with his father releasing a statement insisting the clause should still be active.

The 33-year-old admitted to Goal that his family were in tears and begging him not to quit Barcelona.

After weeks of talks and speculation – which coincided with Ronald Koeman taking over as the new manager – Messi has now accepted he will stay at the club for another season with no club able to pay his £623m (€700m) release clause.

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The Argentina international will undoubtedly want to see big changes at Barcelona to ensure a similar scenario doesn’t take place next summer.

In the midst of all this, Barcelona have been quiet in the transfer market to tend with Messi’s future.

Now that has been confirmed, the club have just a few weeks to try and improve the squad and Georginio Wijnaldum appears to be a top target for Koeman.

The Liverpool midfielder is currently on international duty and refused to comment on the speculation around his future.

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But Wijnaldum has just one year left on his contract at Liverpool with reports suggesting the Reds would consider selling if the right bid came in.

Now that Barcelona have sorted out Messi’s immediate future, they could well move ahead with plans to try and sign Wijnaldum.

Reports have claimed that Barcelona will need to offload several first-team players in order to bring in any more new faces.

And there is a spot available in Barcelona’s midfield after Ivan Rakitic joined Sevilla earlier this week with Arturo Vidal also set to leave the club.

Barcelona will be desperate to put the Messi transfer drama behind them quickly with the start of the season just over a week away.

Koeman has also made it clear that he wants to build his own squad at Barcelona and Wijnaldum would come in as a proven champion.

The 29-year-old was the most used midfielder at Liverpool last season as they won the Premier League title while he also broke Barcelona hearts in 2019 on their way to Champions League glory.

Liverpool are unlikely to sell unless their valuation is met, but Barcelona may well push forward with a deal to start trying to win Messi over – and the Reds’ links to ex-Barca midfielder Thiago Alcantara of Bayern Munich and their need to sell players to fund moves means a move may make sense for all parties.

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