In Brief

Premier League transfer news: Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale, Jamie Vardy

Spurs and England striker Harry Kane may be set for six weeks on the sidelines

Premier League transfer news and rumours

Manchester City chief rules out any move for Messi

Even if they wanted to pay his £625m release clause, Manchester City have “no chance” of ever signing Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

City CEO Ferran Soriano, who was also Barcelona’s vice president from 2003 to 2008, says Messi is a “genius”, but has ruled out any move for the 30-year-old Argentine forward.

Speaking to reporters in Buenos Aires, Soriano said: “There is no chance of signing Messi. I know him and his family well, and I know they are fine in Barcelona, which is where he needs to be. We will make our way without him, which will be more difficult because he is the best player in the history of football. He changed everything, he is a genius.” (The Sun)

Is Bale on his way back to England?

Reports in Spain say that Gareth Bale’s agent is “sounding out interest” in the Real Madrid forward. Bale has been linked with Manchester United and a return to Tottenham, but Paris Saint-Germain may also enter the bidding for the Welshman. (Sky Sports)

Timo Werner: RB Leipzig to Liverpool

Having already signed Naby Keita from RB Leipzig, Liverpool are now after his teammate Timo Werner. The German striker, 22, is on Jurgen Klopp’s summer shopping list, but the Reds could be joined in the transfer race by rivals Manchester United. (The Independent)

Phil Jones: Manchester United to Everton

United and England defender Phil Jones is a target for Everton boss Sam Allardyce. However, any deal would depend on whether Allardyce is still in charge at Goodison Park next season. (The Times)

Jamie Vardy: Leicester City to Everton

Everton are also reportedly interested in signing England striker Jamie Vardy from Leicester City. Former Leicester head of recruitment Steve Walsh is now director of football at Everton, and he wants to be reunited with the striker. Walsh is under pressure at Goodison Park, though, and his role is believed to be under threat. (Liverpool Echo)

Fred: Shakhtar Donetsk to Manchester United

Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred could be set for a switch to Manchester United this summer, after Manchester City reportedly “cooled their interest” in the Brazilian. (The Times)

Premier League news and talking points

Kane facing six weeks out

Tottenham and England have been dealt a huge blow by news that Harry Kane may be out of action for six weeks. The striker injured ankle ligaments against Bournemouth on Saturday and may not return to action until the end of April. That would give Kane just a few games left in the season to get fully fit for the World Cup in Russia. (Daily Mirror)

Puyol: Hazard not at Messi or Ronaldo’s level yet

Speaking ahead of Barcelona’s Champions League clash with Chelsea tonight, former Barca captain Carles Puyol says that Eden Hazard will be a danger man in the round of 16 second-leg. But while Puyol rates Hazard highly, he does not believe the Belgian is an equal to Barca’s Lionel Messi or Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo. “I don’t think he’s [Hazard] at their level yet,” said Puyol. “We are talking about incredible players. It’s not just one season, they have been at the maximum level for ten years now.” (Sky Sports)

Hughes in talks with Southampton

Mark Hughes is the leading contender to take over at Southampton, according to sources close to the club. The Saints, one place above the Premier League relegation zone, sacked Mauricio Pellegrino earlier this week. It’s believed that Hughes has held “advanced talks” with the club and that he could announced as their new manager later today. (Sky Sports)

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