Balague links Manchester United with world record transfer bid for Lionel Messi

The most preposterous rumour of the day surrounds Manchester United and Lionel Messi.

It's been a crazy 24 hours for Manchester United, firing a manager for the first time in almost 30 years.

The man who pulled the trigger on that dismissal was executive vice chairman Ed Woodward, and you wonder what part he plays in the next bizarre transfer rumour doing the rounds.

It emanates around arguably the world's best footballer, Argentine forward Lionel Messi.

Spanish football pundit Guillem Balague claims that the Red Devils are closely monitoring events surrounding the Barcelona attacker, with a view to making a potential move if he becomes available.

He writes in his column for Bleacher Report: "Not surprisingly, Manchester United and PSG are monitoring the situation closely should Leo be brave enough to jump ship.

"Manchester United have asked relevant people what the situation with Messi is, because the impression they get is that the Barcelona board want to sell him."

Now we certainly do not expect Lionel Messi to be arriving at Old Trafford any time soon, but given Woodward's reported attempts to sign Gareth Bale and Cesc Fabregas last summer, such enquiries may not be entirely untrue.

Messi though has a release clause in his contract of €250 million, and even if Barcelona decided to sell him for less - it would certainly still be a world record fee.

With rich clubs like PSG, and even rivals Manchester City having shown an interest previously, the road certainly would not be clear for United in any case, especially without Champions League football.

Messi, 26, has 34 goals in 32 La Liga and Champions League starts this season, in a supposed 'below par' campaign.

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