The 'Lionel Messi to the Premier League' rumour is snowballing, again.

Days after saying that Messi is "closer than ever" to leaving Barcelona in search of a new challenge, Spanish journalist Guillem Balague – who wrote Messi's authorised biography and interviewed him this month – has said the 28-year-old is already learning English, in case he leaves La Liga.

Appearing on talkSPORT, Balague again said Messi is pondering his future:

"He’s never been closer to leaving Barcelona, he is thinking about it. 

He has heard from Sergio Aguero and Cesc Fabregas how wonderful England and the Premier League is. There’s an attraction there for a new challenge.

He’s maturing, he wants to imagine himself in England and he watches the Premier League. He’s learning English in case he needs it. He is preparing for that possibility."

Should Messi ever choose to leave Barca, it's almost certain that the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United will make a play for his services.

We should also question the timing of Balague's remarks. He's decided to be so outspoken on Messi in the same week he's released his new book, a biography on Messi's greatest foe, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Is this a genuine clue on Messi's future or a timely boost to Guillem Balague's claim as the authorative voice on Spanish football?

[via Bleacher Report]