Rio Ferdinand has claimed that Chelsea are among the clubs interested in signing Lionel Messi this summer.
The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has informed Barcelona he wishes to move on by activating a clause in his contract which would enable him to leave on a free transfer.
While the lack of a transfer fee widens the prospect of a deal going through, Messi's enormous wages mean only a select few clubs would be able to afford him.
Chelsea could certainly fall into that category with the backing of owner Roman Abramovich, who has wanted to sign Messi for some time.
And Ferdinand says Blues boss Frank Lampard has entered the race to take the forward to Stamford Bridge.
"Just heard Frank Lampard is now in for Messi," Ferdinand tweeted. "Some window this if Lamps pulls this off!"
Lampard has already completed the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, with Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell all expected to follow in the coming days.
Those transfers alone would take Chelsea's spending to over £200million in this window alone, but Abramovich could still finance an attractive package to lure Messi to the club.
Chelsea of course face competition with Man City, PSG and Inter Milan all battling it out as favourites to sign the 33-year-old.
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Indeed according to reports in Spain, Messi is already said to have discussed a potential move to City with his former boss Pep Guardiola.
The Argentine still holds ambitions of winning the Champions League, which will be key to any decision he makes.
One thing that could stand in his way though is a discrepancy between him and Barca over the clause in his contract.
It states that Messi is able to leave the club at the end of the season on a free, but it expires in June.
Who should Lionel Messi sign for? Have your say below.
Messi will argue that due to coronavirus the season did not end until August hence his decision to delay notifying the club of his wishes, but Barcelona will try and use this to their advantage to declare the clause null and void.
Should Messi move on Chelsea are among the slight outsiders for his signature, with Man Utd and Juventus in the mix, as well as a possible return to his first club Newell's Old Boys in Argentina, who he has hinted at ending his career with previously.
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