HEBEI FORTUNE are putting everything in place to eventually sign Lionel Messi, according to reports in Catalonia.
Clubs in the Chinese Super League have coveted the five-time Ballon d’Or-winner since they began splashing out huge fees on some of the biggest names in world football.
Mundo Deportivo report Fortune made Messi a sensational offer of around £1.7MILLION-A-WEEK after tax in the summer.
However, he turned the money down and signed a new contract at Barcelona until 2021 — with a £626m buy-out clause.
But the Chinese Super League giants have not been put off, and have a long-term strategy in place to eventually secure his signature.
The report explains that, having seen their incredible offer turned down, they know money won’t be a determining factor, and are looking into other ways to convince the Argentinian.
Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Mascherano, who have both joined the club, are personal friends of Messi and Fortune hope the pair will be able to persuade him to make the move.
While, they will also be able to call upon the financial support of huge companies linked to the club in order to meet the £621m buy-out clause.
Fortune’s manager is another South American in Manuel Pellegrini.
Neymar’s decision to leave Barcelona in order to be the main man at Paris Saint-Germain shows the Catalans are still depending on Messi, 30, some time yet.