Lionel Messi was once close to joining Espanyol on loan, reveals Mauricio Pochettino… but PSG boss refuses to comment on potential move for wantaway Barcelona star
- Mauricio Pochettino claims he nearly worked with Lionel Messi at Espanyol
- But the plans were wrecked when Messi starred in a pre-season tournament
- PSG boss not interested in discussing potential move for Barca star this summer
Mauricio Pochettino has revealed he once came close to working with a teenage Lionel Messi when he was in charge of Espanyol.
The PSG boss has refused to talk about a move for the Barcelona captain, who is out of contract at the end of the season and appears unwilling to commit his future to the Nou Camp.
But the Argentine was willing to discuss a transfer in the past that didn’t come off due to a scintillating pre-season display from his compatriot.
Mauricio Pochettino would not comment on reports of a move for Lionel Messi
‘Messi to PSG? No comment. When I was at Espanyol or Southampton, my dream was to have the best players at the club and Messi came close to being loaned out to Espanyol,’ the ex-Tottenham boss explained to El Larguero.
‘The deal was well advanced but he delivered a great display at the pre-season Trofeo Gamper and that was the end of that.
‘We’ve met over the years in places such as London or in Italy. We both share the love for Newell’s, as we both came through their academy and that is our common bond.’
Having come close to leaving last summer, only to change his mind at the 11th hour, Messi is expected to end his long-term association with Barca, with PSG one of a small number of clubs who could afford to pull off the deal.
But Pochettino does not want to get involved in addressing the rumours of a move.
Pochettino claimed he was once close to working with a teenage Messi at Espanyol
Messi was close to leaving Barca last summer, with his contract expiring at end of the season
He continued: ‘I’m aware of all that is going on [with Messi]. I’ve been watching everyone from West Ham to Valladolid and these days you need to keep your eyes on every team.
‘I really don’t want to talk about Messi as everything then gets blown out of proportion.’
Earlier this week PSG chief Leonardo said the French giants have a ‘place reserved’ at the table for Messi.
‘Great players like him will always be on PSG’s list,’ he admitted in an interview with France Football. ‘Now is not the time to discuss or even dream of it.
‘We are seated at the table of those keeping tabs on it. In fact, not seated, but with a place reserved – just in case. Four months is a long time.’
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