Report: Barcelona president to replace manager in bid to stop Messi departure

Chelsea have been linked with a sensational move for the reportedly unhappy Lionel Messi over the past few days.

According to the latest reports in Spain, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is said to be on the lookout for a new manager in a bid to stop star player Lionel Messi from leaving the club.

The Nou Camp outfit were once looked upon both on and off the pitch as one of the strongest in the world, but this season has been an almighty struggle.

Off the pitch, transfer embargoes, reported tax inquests and the recent sacking of sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta are to name but just a few of their problems, whereas on-field displays haven’t been much better.

Last weekend’s defeat left the Catalan giants one point behind Real Madrid at the top of La Liga having played a game extra, and performances have been mediocre to say the least.

Above all, however, is the question being asked over the happiness of star player Messi amid speculation of a bust-up with Luis Enrique and the consequent links to Premier League outfit Chelsea.

The Blues have already signed a former unhappy Barcelona player in Cesc Fabregas in the summer, and his performance levels at Stamford Bridge have increased tenfold.

Could Messi look on at his former teammate and feel a little envious that the Spaniard is playing a key role in what could be a unique quadruple-winning season in West London? Arguably, yes.

In an attempt to convince the Argentine superstar to remain with the La Liga giants, Barca president Bartomeu is said to be seeking drastic actions in the form of a managerial change.

“TV3 also stated that Bartomeu is looking for a new member of the coaching staff, who in principle will join the existing team, but who will take over as head coach if and when Luis Enrique is dismissed,” Spanish publication AS quote.

It continues: “According to TV3, Messi told Bartomeu in the meeting that he isn’t happy and that he doesn’t have a good relationship with Luis Enrique and his staff. The president told him to relax: “We’re looking for a technical secretary who can take over in an emergency”.

The likelihood of Messi leaving the La Liga giants is slim regardless of the latest reports, but if the team continue to fail to challenge at the very top one has to wonder whether the resistance may finally break.

The 27-year-old has won a host of titles at the Nou Camp, with his last success coming 18 months ago following a Spanish Super Cup triumph over Atletico Madrid.

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