Paper Talk: Messi to Man City, Thiago Silva leading Chelsea, and Henderson vs De Gea
28/08/2020: Here's football4football's take on three of the biggest football stories that everyone's talking about right now.
DISCUSS: These faces are involved in the biggest football stories right now.
Messi at Manchester City would bring fantasy football to England
ELITE: Lionel Messi's Barcelona have beaten Manchester City five times in the last six years.
The stance at the Etihad Stadium is that Messi is a supreme footballer and Guardiola continues to admire the player rated as the finest he has managed. And that, actually, it could be possible to sign him. City certainly believe they have a chance of pulling off a deal for the ages. A chance of taking Messi from his spiritual football home to a new challenge in east Manchester in what would be the signing of the Premier League era if not any era of a domestic game that dates from the late 1800s. Messi playing in England would be seismic. The arrival of a four-time Champions League winner and six-time recipient of the Ballon d’Or would take a league supposedly impossible to hype any further into a new dimension of fevered attraction. Except Messi’s presence might just make this new hyperbole credible.
It would instantly vault them to the next level, in their on- and off-field profile
There is no denying that seeing Lionel Messi in the Premier League would catapult English football onto a level no league has ever reached before. Whilst the story has done the rounds every year, there's never been a realistic chance of him leaving Barcelona. Now that's all changed. There's still a chance that Messi will stay, but Manchester City are ready and waiting to take advantage of the situation. They're in pole position financially, but also because of Messi's relationship with Pep Guardiola. It's difficult to see how the proposition doesn't appeal to Barca's talisman. He'll be able to continue on the same/similar huge wages he's on now, and potentially be the man to finally deliver a Champions League trophy to the Etihad.
Verdict: This is how City close the gap on Liverpool
Captain, leader, scapegoat: Silva arrives at Chelsea with a point to prove
O Monstro: Thiago Silva was Brazil's captain during the 2014 World Cup.
Silva has ambitions to go into coaching when he retires, but he does not see this move as the start of that transition. He dreams of ending his career after Qatar 2022 and, perhaps because he only started playing for Milan at 24, still feels that he has plenty of gas left in the tank. He is coming to Stamford Bridge to make a difference and set an example, not to sit on the bench and pick up a wage.
It's difficult to identify where he can still improve. He has already proven that he has everything
No one is under any illusion that this signing is going to fix all of Chelsea's defensive woes. That doesn't mean it's not a very shrewd piece of business. In an ideal world, Frank Lampard would sign a young, high-profile centre-back, like Dayot Upemacano from RB Leipzig. Chelsea have already ploughed huge amounts of cash into their attack and midfield, so they've found a short-term fix on a free transfer. Abramovich can fork out for an expensive long term option next summer providing all goes well. Even at 35-years-old, Thiago Silva is still an extremely effective defender.
Verdict: Silva will be successful but Chelsea still have work to do.
Dean Henderson signs new Manchester United contract until 2025 after returning from Sheffield United loan
NEXT STEP: Dean Henderson has impressed whilst at Sheffield United.
There have been calls for Henderson to remain at Manchester United in 2020-21 and compete with the increasingly error-prone David De Gea for a starting role, though Standard Sport understands that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's preference is still to send him out for another loan stint elsewhere with Henderson also keen to keep playing regular first-team football. Much could depend on the future of De Gea's current deputy Sergio Romero, who remains under contract until June 2021 but has been linked with a summer exit.
The faith that the manager and the club have shown in me with this contract means a lot to me and will continue my progression as a goalkeeper
This is long-awaited news for Manchester United fans, but the story will rumble on for some time. The next step for Henderson is to see how many games he can start instead of David De Gea next season. The Spanish goalkeeper has come under immense pressure for the number of high-profile mistakes he made in the 2019/20 season. Henderson meanwhile, has been one of the best performing keepers in the league at Sheffield United, and looks ready to play for Manchester United. Has De Gea been bad enough to lose his place as number one though? The other element to all this is that Sergio Romero must surely be on his way out of the club. He's far too good to be a third choice keeper, but he simply won't get picked ahead of De Gea and Henderson.
Verdict: De Gea will get the nod on day one, but expect twists and turns.
Do you think Messi will end up at Manchester City, Paris Saint Germain, or will he stay at Barcelona?
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