What next for Messi and Mbappe? Plus exclusive Arsenal contract update – Fabrizio Romano’s Daily Briefing

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Welcome to the latest edition of Fabrizio Romano’s Daily Briefing – my exclusive round-up of the biggest transfer news and major football headlines. Click here to subscribe and get the ad-free version straight to your inbox every Sunday-Thursday morning!


Where else to start after that historic match yesterday? This was the best ever final ever for me – it was absolutely incredible! Kylian Mbappe was unreal, Lionel Messi obviously too. I think it also helps to understand how important is the goalkeeper in modern football, Emi Martinez made the difference.

I’m sure people will now be continuing the debate about whether or not Messi is the best ever. Personally, I’m not a big fan of comparisons between top players, I’m a big fan of enjoying them; and Messi is for sure a legend of this game, now even more.

Speaking after the game, manager Lionel Scaloni made it clear he wanted Messi to remain part of the national team for the World Cup 2026: “Messi should have a place in the next World Cup, we want him to continue. If he wants to keep playing, the ’10’ will always be ready for Lionel.”

Lionel Messi with the World Cup

Messi also said he plans to keep going: “No, I’m NOT gonna retire from the national team. I want to keep playing as World Cup champions with Argentina shirt.”


I’m aware there’s been some speculation about Nicolo Zaniolo again, and it’s a slightly surprising story as there are no negotiations between Arsenal and Zaniolo as of now.

He has never been close to a Premier League move. Tottenham links were there in the past because of Fabio Paratici who’s always been following Zaniolo since the beginning of his career, but nothing more concrete than that.

Arsenal fans keep asking me for updates on contracts for their star players. My understanding is they will discuss again with Bukayo Saka’s agents in the next weeks and months, same for William Saliba and Gabriel Martinelli. The plan is clear: they want to extend the contracts, but these things take time.

Atletico Madrid

Marcos Paulo is set to leave Atletico Madrid in January. A full agreement is in place with Sao Paulo for a loan deal that could include a buy option.


Malang Sarr’s agent Pastorello: “He’s not playing a lot at AS Monaco, he’s a bit disappointed as he left Chelsea to play more — let’s see if they will let him leave in January. Torino wanted him last summer, and AC Milan have been tracking him for long time.”


Gareth Southgate will stay as England head coach, as FA statement confirms. The plan is to proceed together at least until Euro 2024.

Negotiations with Thomas Tuchel or Mauricio Pochettino were never concrete or advanced. The priority was to continue with Southgate.


Didier Deschamps on his future as France manager: “I have a meeting with the FA president at the beginning of the year. I will discuss with him. I would have said the same if we had won, it takes time.”

Inter Milan

Stefan de Vrij’s agent Federico Pastorello: “De Vrij can play for all the top European clubs. He has great experience and a tactical approach high level. He’s an extremely intelligent boy and you can clearly see this on the pitch too. He’s a player who can play anywhere. At the end of the year there will be many top clubs looking for a centre-back, there will be plenty of opportunities, but his evaluations will concern not only the contractual aspect, but also many elements.”

Manchester United

Jude Bellingham in action for England at the World Cup

I said many times the same on Jude BellinghamMan United want to try for Bellingham, but they know they have not so many chances to sign him as there are many clubs pushing for a long time.

For Frenkie de Jong, I think it’s not time to restart the reports… it’s absolutely the same: for a future transfer to happen, Frenkie has to change his mind and this has not happened. He’s focused on Barca now.


PSG will hold talks with Lionel Messi and his representatives in the next weeks, they want him to stay at all costs. There will be a proposal to extend his contract very soon.

PSG president Al Khelaifi: “No decision will be made on Leo Messi’s contract before the new year. We are very happy and Leo’s very happy with us too. We will find the best solution together with Messi, we’re so happy and this is fantastic.”

For Kylian Mbappe, everything is absolutely quiet now; PSG are very clear in stating that they want him to stay on long-term but we will see in the next months, nothing will be decided now, despite the speculation earlier in the season.

PSG president Al Khelaifi on rumours about Mbappe leaving in 2023: “Kylian has just signed a new deal with PSG few months ago and he’s happy to be part of PSG project.”


Despite some speculation in the past, Tottenham have never been close to signing Roma winger Nicolo Zaniolo. The links were there because Fabio Paratici has followed the player for a long time, but that’s it.

World Cup

Well, it’s finally over, and here’s my pick for the three stand-out players of the tournament:

  1. Lionel Messi – A World Cup winner at last, two goals in the final. A fitting triumph for an unbelievable career.
  2. Kylian Mbappe – The World Cup Golden Boot winner, and electrifying to watch again in Qatar. So unlucky to be on the losing side after a hat-trick in the final.
  3. Luka Modric – Simply class, a legend of the game, a leader for his country. Two terrific World Cups in 2018 and 2022.
More Stories Bukayo Saka Didier Deschamps Emiliano Martinez Fabrizio Romano Frenkie de Jong Gabriel Martinelli Gareth Southgate Jude Bellingham Kylian Mbappe Lionel Messi Luka Modric Malang Sarr Nicolo Zaniolo Stefan De Vrij William Saliba