Lionel Messi might be out of reach for Manchester United, Chelsea and a host of other leading Premier League clubs, but there is the possibility of landing a player that the World Cup winner has admitted is profoundly similar to him in terms of his style.
Roma star Paulo Dybala is available at a bargain price until 15 January, according to Fabrizio Romano, with the Argentina international in possession of a release clause that will have top clubs salivating.
Football transfer news expert Romano says that Dybala has a release fee of just €12.5 million, which is available exclusively to clubs outside Italy, for the next 10 days. Even if no team profits from this opening now, the 30-year-old will have a similar release fee for a month in July.
This figure represents a steep discount on the player’s actual worth. Although his Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) at present is only €15m, this has been dropping steadily since the summer, when he entered the last two years of his three-year Roma contract.
And for any clubs seeking to strengthen their attack, Dybala would represent a coup given he has five goals and six assists for Jose Mourinho’s Roma across all competitions this season.
A friendly reminder that Paulo Dybala’s Roma presentation was the greatest of all time 😍pic.twitter.com/1d1IrKZ370
— Robin Bairner (@RBairner) January 5, 2024
Dybala’s complicated Messi relationship
Dybala offers similar qualities to Messi, with who he has had a sometimes difficult relationship.
While playing for Juventus, he said that it is “hard to play alongside Messi” for Argentina, though he ultimately made the winning 2022 World Cup squad.
And the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner agreed with the sentiment of this comment.
He plays just like me, we look for the same spaces
– Lionel Messi on Paulo Dybala
“I spoke to Paulo about those comments, what he said is the truth,” Messi explained to FoxSports back in 2018.
“At Juventus he plays just like me, we look for the same spaces. Alongside me in the national team he had to play more on the left, maybe he’s not so used to that.
“It is harder for us to play there, I rarely venture down the left-hand side. On the right we can cut inside and we have the whole pitch in front of us.”
Man Utd, Chelsea and Newcastle could all use a little Messi magic at this moment in time, and while Dybala may not be of the same calibre, at just €12.5m, he would still make a welcome addition.