• Lionel Messi is losing influence in Barcelona after expressing his desire not to renew his contract, a report said
  • Ronald Koeman is in charge of major transfer moves and plotted a "Plan B" in case Barca misses out on Lautaro Martinez
  • Koeman is considering Lyon star Memphis Depay if Martinez's move doesn't push through

After expressing his desire not to extend his contract, Lionel Messi appears to be losing influence in Barcelona and Ronald Koeman is now heading the club’s major transfer moves, a report from Spain said.

Barcelona has been on a long courtship with Inter Milan for the possible transfer of Lautaro Martinez. The Catalan club’s interest dates back to the past La Liga season, but to this day, both parties have yet to enter negotiations.

Now, the Catalans are continuing their pursuit of Martinez despite his fellow Argentine, Messi, urging Barcelona to rule the move out, Spanish outlet Diario Gol reported.

Due to the assumption that Messi has no intention of renewing his contract with Barca when it expires in June 2021, Barcelona bosses are now less inclined to listen to the captain when it comes to decisions concerning the future of the club, the report said.

However, the new Barcelona coach is also open to passing on the Inter striker, according to the outlet. But this has little to do with Messi and is mainly due to the massive amount of money involved in Martinez's transfer.

Instead, Koeman is said to have plotted a “Plan B” and asked the board to pursue a much cheaper signing in Lyon forward Memphis Depay, Diario Gol said.

Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave for free this summer
Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave for free this summer AFP / JAVIER SORIANO

The Blaugrana is said to have valued Depay’s signing at around €20 million to €25 million ($24 million to $29 million), a significantly lower fee than Inter’s €85 million ($100 million) demand for Martinez’s exit.

However, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas clarified in a statement on Tuesday, Sept. 8, that he has not been in any type of contact with Barcelona for the transfer of his star forward to Camp Nou.

According to Aulas, there was a big possibility of Depay leaving Lyon back in August, but this has passed and the player is now staying. Furthermore, Aulas insisted that the Barcelona talks are all rumors and that Lyon doesn’t want its captain to leave anytime soon, Mundo Deportivo reported.

"Memphis [Depay] could have left in August, but now he should stay with us all season," Aulas said. “Contrary to what I have read, there have been no negotiations with Barça. And I don't think Lyon is interested in letting their captain go.”

Some outlets have suggested that the addition of Depay would be a great boost for Barcelona as he is not too expensive as a signing. And at 26, the Lyon star is highly versatile and capable of playing a central role or being a left-winger. He has also proven that he can provide considerable width and pace.

As for Martinez, he has already established great chemistry with Messi in Argentina, and the pair could infuse it in Barca if the opportunity arises.