A Chelsea deal for Barcelona forward Lionel Messi would be impossible under financial fair play rules, assistant coach Steve Holland said on Friday.
The Argentine’s future at Barca has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks amid media reports of a bust up with coach Luis Enrique and talk of a potential move away from the Nou Camp.
The four times world player of the year would almost certainly command a world record transfer fee while his wages would ensure any deal would be viable only for the most financially powerful clubs.
Holland, standing in at the club’s weekly news conference for Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, said it was unlikely the London club could bring the 27-year-old to Stamford Bridge without breaching Uefa’s stringent spending controls.
He added that it was unlikely that any player would join Chelsea in the January transfer window.
“Jose has made it quite clear that in this window his expectation is that nobody comes and nobody goes,” Holland said.
“I recall him this time last year saying a similar thing, but a couple of things happened that made us reactive. Manchester United made a huge bid for Juan Mata. Sometimes you have to react.
“But the hope and expectation is that nobody leaves and nobody comes. We’re happy with what we have.
“This club conforms with financial fair play. We’ve brought one or two players in over the last 12 months but it’s quite clear that players have been sold to balance the books.
“When you look at the numbers being mentioned around the Messi deal, I think it’s almost an impossible deal for any club working within the restraints of financial fair play.”
Chelsea, who had an eight-point lead whittled away by Manchester City and now sit top of the Premier League only by virtue of alphabetical order, face Newcastle at home on Saturday.