To lure Lionel Messi, Saudi Pro-League giants Al-Hilal are reportedly keen on signing Barcelona stars Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets.
The Saudi Arabian side is interested in bolstering their squad and has identified the trio as their top targets this summer.
This is according to the Spanish newspaper El Nacional, which claims that Al-Hilal is prepared to go for big names this summer and will try to do everything possible to get Messi.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will become available as a free agent this June when his contract at Parc des Princes expires.
His former side Barcelona is working tirelessly to bring him back to Camp Nou two years after they lost him for free due to their inability to pay his wages. But given that they remain in a tight financial corner, signing, Messi might be out of reach for them.
That has given the oil-rich Al-Hilal the belief that they can lure Messi to King Fahd International Stadium. The Riyadh-based club have the financial capacity to fund Messi’s wages and has already offered him a huge contract that will make him the highest-paid player in the world.
But they want to also sign Messi’s former teammates and close pals Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets to ensure that the mercurial Argentine feels at home when he arrives in Riyadh.
Meanwhile, Al-Hilal’s coach Ramon Diaz recently spoke about the possibility of signing the 35-year-old. He said via Sportskeeda:
“It grows all over the world; it was seen in the World Cup. Clubs can have eight foreigners; you can have the best because there are no financial problems.
“It happened with Ronaldo, and most of Al Hilal’s foreigners are international. If they continue like this, they will grow. The presence of Cristiano [Ronaldo] is important to give football more expectations. They have the possibility of buying Lionel Messi. Imagine the power they have.”
Meanwhile, Barcelona left-back Alba is available for sale this summer even though he still has a left year on his Camp Nou contract. The Spaniard is one of the highest-earner at Barca, and with the club keen to trim their wage bill, they would not mind selling Alba if the right bid comes.
On the other hand, Busquets will be a free agent this summer. However, Barca wants to keep him and has already offered him a contract extension.