Barcelona are preparing for life without Lionel Messi and have identified Paulo Dybala as their heir to his throne.
That’s according to reports in Italy, which claim that the Spanish giants are keen for Juventus forward Dybala to replace his Argentine compatriot should Messi leave them this summer.
Tuttosport report that both Dybala and Messi are unhappy at their respective clubs which could lead to talks between both teams.
Dybala is yet to agree terms with Juve over a new contract and was seemingly heading for the exit doors last summer amid Manchester United and Tottenham interest.
The 26-year-old is reportedly seeking a new contract worth £13.5million-per-season after tax (£260,000-per-week) – figures which would practically double what he is on at present.
He is currently the fourth highest-paid player at the Italian giants but is seeking greater parity with Cristiano Ronaldo, Matthijs de Ligt and Gonzalo Higuain.
While Dybala’s issues appear to be over money, Messi’s at Barcelona run deeper than that. The 33-year-old is unhappy at the running of the club under president Josep Bartomeu.
And to make matters worse, the forward is reportedly ‘furious’ that details of his meeting with new Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman have been leaked as the Argentine superstar’s rift with the club shows no sign of easing.
Messi interrupted his holiday to return to Barcelona on Thursday to speak face to face with the club’s new coach, who was appointed this week following the dismissal of Quique Setien.
Following Thursday’s meeting, reports emerged from radio station RAC1 that Messi told Koeman that he was more ‘outside the club than inside’ and that he had little faith in president Josep Bartomeu to steady the ship.
And according to Clarin via Marca, Messi is furious that details have emerged from his private meeting with Koeman.
Moreover, the 33-year-old is said to be angered not because he feels what has been reported is a misrepresentation of the meeting, but that the radio station is known to be openly in support of Bartomeu’s administration.