Chelsea transfer news: Roman Abramovich requests urgent meeting with Lionel Messi

Chelsea will attempt to challenge PSG for the signature of Lionel Messi, according to reports.

The football world was shocked on Thursday when Barcelona announced that their greatest ever player was leaving the club.

Messi’s contract at the Camp Nou expired on June 30 but the Blaugrana had still hoped to retain him.

The club and the player agreed a new five-year deal, with Messi willing to commit to the Catalans until 2026.

But with the club mired in debt, Barcelona have admitted defeat in their attempt to both keep Messi and meet La Liga’s economic controls.

The president Joan Laporta confirmed on Friday that Messi’s time at the Camp Nou is over, just a week before the new La Liga season gets under way.

PSG are thought to be at the front of the queue to sign Messi, who has already spoken to their manager Mauricio Pochettino.

But according to AS, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has requested an urgent meeting with the Argentina international’s representatives.

The Spanish publication states that although the Blues have been preoccupied with agreeing a deal for Romelu Lukaku, they are now exploring the possibility of bringing Messi to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea will not give up their pursuit of Lukaku in order to sign the Barcelona legend, but the club’s number-crunchers are trying to work out whether a deal for Messi might be possible.

Much, of course, will come down to the player’s preferences. Pochettino is a fellow Argentine and Messi might be looking forward to a reunion with Neymar, his former team-mate at the Camp Nou.

The competitiveness of the Premier League could work for or against Chelsea in this instance.

Messi might be attracted to the idea of competing for the title in England, which would be worth more than a Ligue 1 winner’s medal with PSG.

Alternatively, he might favour the more gentle environs of France, where he would be better able to save his best for the Champions League.