Lionel Messi has chosen the alternative to Philippe Coutinho, should Barcelona fail to sign the Brazilian international once again.
According to Spanish outlet Don Balon, the Argentine wants German star Leon Goretzka, who will be out of the contract at Schalke 04 in the summer.
Messi has been sharing his opinion on plenty of transfer matters recently, having told Barca that he did not want the club to sign Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann for fear his friend and strike partner Luis Suarez would be dropped.
While Coutinho is Barcelona’s preferred option, his transfer has stalled several times over the past six months and Goretzka would be a cheaper alternative.
Goretzka or Coutinho?
The 22-year-old midfielder has already scored seven goals in all competitions this season, despite playing as a deep-lying playmaker with similar to Croatian star Ivan Rakitic.
With just six months left on his contract, the German would be one of the best free agents on the market come the summer. A move in January could see Schalke allow him to go at a cut-price deal, compared to Coutinho, who would cost around €140 million.
Goretzka has an added bonus of being able to play in the Champions League, with his Bundesliga club only featuring in the Europa League, unlike Liverpool, something that would appeal to manager Ernesto Valverde.
Yet, Barcelona will face plenty of competition to sign him, with Coutinho’s current club interested in him, along with fellow Premier League clubs Arsenal and Tottenham, while Real Madrid and German club Bayern Munich also targeting the midfielder.