Lionel Messi approves shock Barcelona bid for Real Madrid star: £70m deal would be shock of the summer

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Barcelona have received the backing of star man Lionel Messi in their pursuit of Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez and will launch a stunning £70million to lure him to the Camp Nou this summer, according to the Daily Express.

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Rodriguez, 25, looks very likely to leave Real Madrid this summer after a second successive season of very little game time in the first team. A number of clubs are said to be keen on the Colombian midfielder, but the Blaugrana will attempt to sign him. Real will want to avoid selling him to their bitter rivals, but the player will try and force his way out of the Santiago Bernabeu.

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Following a string of impressive displays at the World Cup in 2014, Los Blancos signed him from Monaco for £73million. Initially, under Carlo Ancelotti, he settled in at the club and enjoyed his debut campaign, but the Italian was sacked for failing to win a trophy that season and Rodriguez was not favoured by his replacement Rafa Benitez, nor by current boss Zinedine Zidane.

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The Premier League is said to be his most likely destination, but he could be tempted to stay in LaLiga with Barcelona. Messi, who is yet to put pen to paper on a new contract at the club despite his current deal running out next summer, is keen to see Rodriguez join, and reports suggest Barça are happy enough to pay what Real did for the player three years ago, which would be a demand in any negotiation over the summer.

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The Catalans, who currently trail Real by two points at the top of LaLiga, are set to go through a transitional phase in the summer and want Rodriguez to be a part of a new look squad. Like Messi, Andres Iniesta’s contract is running down and it is far from certain that he will renew at the club. A new coach is not yet found either, with Luis Enrique walking away at the end of the campaign.

Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea are also keen on signing Rodriguez. Real want to sign Eden Hazard in the summer so they could offer him to the Stamford Bridge club in negotiations for the Belgian, and avoiding selling him to Barcelona will be high on club president Florentino Perez’s list of priorities.

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