English Premiership

Chelsea cool Messi talk

2015-01-09 18:06
Lionel Messi. (File, AFP)

London - Chelsea assistant manager Steve Holland on Friday distanced the Premier League giants from a move for Barcelona's Argentina star Lionel Messi.

The Stamford Bridge club have been linked with an approach for Messi whose future in Spain has been thrown into doubt because of a breakdown in relations with Barca coach Luis Enrique.

The four-times world player of the year has a $302m buy-out clause in his contract with the La Liga club.

But his wage demands mean that any move for the player would require a total outlay of around $756m.

Playing squad

Chelsea are one of the few clubs believed to have the resources to fund a deal of that size, but Holland believes Financial Fair Play regulations would prohibit a move.

And Holland insists Blues manager Jose Mourinho has no intention of making changes to his playing squad during the current transfer window.

Mourinho did not attend Friday's routine media conference after being charged with misconduct by the Football Association.

And Holland said: "With Financial Fair Play, many players have been sold to balance the books. That has been the case in the last 12 months.

"But when you see the numbers that have been mentioned around the Messi deal I would think it looks impossible under Financial Fair Play."

He added: "I think he has made it clear in this window nobody leaves, nobody goes.

Hope and expectation

"I recall he said a similar thing at this time last year and a few things happened that meant we had to be reactive. Manchester United made a huge offer for Juan Mata and there was an offer for Kevin de Bruyne.

"Jose was happy to keep them. But sometimes you have to react. But the hope and expectation is that nobody comes or leaves."

Mourinho will take charge of his side against Newcastle this weekend, a few days after being hit with a FA misconduct charge for comments he made in the wake of his side's draw at Southampton.

The Chelsea manager condemned referee Anthony Taylor's display after midfielder Cesc Fabregas was booked for diving when television replays showed the player was fouled inside the Southampton penalty area.

That was the latest in a succession of controversial decisions to affect Mourinho's side.

And while Holland insists the manager remains unaffected by the charge, he insisted Mourinho's frustration was shared throughout the club.

Holland said: "Jose's been fine today (on Friday). He's very focused on the game against Newcastle. We lost away to Newcastle only very recently. We're very determined to put that right.

Tensions were rising

"There is a frustration with all of us, the coaching staff and the players, not just Jose with an accumulation of events which surfaced at the Southampton game with Cesc.

"We are all together in this. But we have to move on."

The draw at Southampton was followed by a 5-3 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur, allowing Manchester City to draw level at the head of the Premier League table.

And Holland admitted that the intensity of the title race meant tensions were rising.

He added: "At the halfway mark the difference between success and failure is so small. In a game like Southampton where clearly a penalty should have been given and you assume you would go on to win the game and get two extra points that could prove to be vital.

"So when managers speak straight after the game there is a frustration. Small margins define success or failure."

Read more on:    chelsea  |  barcelona  |  lionel messi  |  soccer


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