Lionel Messi leads 20-man Saudi transfer shortlist to grow game, including Kante, Modric and two Liverpool legends

LIONEL MESSI reportedly leads a 20-man shortlist of big name players that Saudi Arabian clubs are targeting.

The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo in January at Al-Nassr has seemingly lit the touch paper for a huge influx of Europe’s finest talent.

GettyLionel Messi has been strongly linked to Saudi Arabia after his brilliant season with PSG[/caption]

GettyN’Golo Kante is out of contract at the end of the season and could be in for a big money deal if he were to leave Stamford Bridge[/caption]

And with Messi set to leave PSG in the summer, there are hopes that he may be the latest global superstar to leave the continent behind.

According to CBS’ Ben Jacobs, the 35-year-old is not short of admirers in the middle east.

Rich clubs are chasing Messi as they look to renew his iconic, generation-defining rivalry with Ronaldo.

The pair went head-to-head over a number of years in La Liga when they were the undisputed best players in the world.

But it is not just the Argentine World Cup winner who Saudi clubs are looking to take.

Jacobs also reports that the legendary Liverpool duo of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino could both be heading away from Europe.

Mane’s move to Bayern Munich has been largely unsuccessful with his lowest point coming when he was involved in a physical altercation with his own teammate last month.

It is now being widely reported the 31-year-old will be on his way this summer.


Meanwhile, Firmino has announced that he will be leaving Anfield at the end of the season and will certainly be looking for a new club after eight years on Merseyside.

Other famous names could also make headline-making transfers to Saudi.

Sergio Busquets could be on his way after announcing that he would be departing Barcelona after 15 years.

While N’Golo Kante, who has endured an injury hit season at Chelsea, is also being linked away.

The Frenchman’s contract expires at the end of the season.

Luka Modric is also believed to be among the major names who may follow Ronaldo’s steps, with the 37-year-old also out of contract at the end of June.

Jacobs adds that the Saudi Arabian government could play a big role in deciding who ends up well.

He writes: “Once funding is in place they pitch a club, or series of clubs, to the player.

“This means in order to grow the league players can be dispersed across many clubs. It’s the same with Lionel Messi.

“We often hear of an Al-Hilal offer, and that is the most likely and talked about destination. But with player buy-in Messi could be pitched to Al-Nassr, to play alongside Ronaldo.”

GettyFirmino could be in line for his final Liverpool home game on Saturday against Aston Villa[/caption]

GettyMane’s move to Bayern Munich has not gone entirely to plan[/caption]

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