Barcelona had a surprise plan to replace Lionel Messi, which would’ve surely attracted mass attention from the footballing world.

Lionel Messi seems to be getting further distant from Barcelona with every passing day. The Argentina international wants an exit, which the board isn’t willing to grant easily. However, with the worst case scenario in mind, Josep Maria Bartomeu has shortlisted a few replacements for the 33-year-old, one of them being Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix.

According to Spanish daily, Marca, the club’s president was eyeing a sensational swap deal with the fellow La Liga giants in order to land the Portugal international. The 57-year old was open to sending last summer’s signing in Antoine Griezmann back to his former club in a swap deal.

The rumored deal, however, never actually took off as Miguel Angel Gil Marin, the Atletico Madrid chief, realized the possible complications of the deal in the future that it may hold for his club.

Joao Felix is touted as one of the brightest prospects of the game and is one of the better and most versatile forwards in the making. Barcelona are in a dire need of a player with similar profile now who will not only score goals for them but will prove to be a long-term player for the club.

If this deal would have carried on, Los Rojiblancos would have lost out on of their brightest prospects in return for the 29-year-old Griezmann. The Frenchman didn’t exactly enjoy his first season at Camp Nou and the Atleti board has realized that.

The Blaugrana are in need of some funds as they look ahead for a massive squad overhaul with only six players deemed untouchable from the first-team, including the wantaway man in Lionel Messi. The captain’s future at the club is a big question now as the Argentine is pondering hard over a move away from his club of two decades.

Manchester City is rumored to be his next destination. Currently there seems to be some issues with a clause in Messi’s contract and the 33-year-old could well end up having a legal face-off with his club. With him set to potentially depart for a very high price if not the whole 700 million euros or free, the club will have enough for a fill-in.

Griezmann receives a massive salary at the club and hence it shouldn’t come off as a surprise that Bartomeu wants to lighten his financial load. One will never know for sure, but can trust the coming days to give us a good picture of the exact situation at Barcelona and more so with the biggest topic right now- Messi.

Who can replace Lionel Messi at the club if he departs during the coming months?

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