Joan Monfort/Associated Press
Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly “exploring the possibility” of trying to complete a transfer for Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi during next summer’s transfer window.
ESPN’s Julien Laurens reported Friday that PSG have retained interest in Messi since being one of the clubs to explore a deal in the summer before he ultimately remained at the Camp Nou.
Manchester City led the pursuit to land Messi following the 2019-20 season, but the Parisians were also involved in discussions, per Laurens. A dispute between the six-time Ballon d’Or winner and Barcelona about a release clause in his contract brought a halt to the negotiations, though.
In September, Messi explained to Goal’s Ruben Uria that Barca held firm on their belief he needed to inform them about his intentions to leave before June 10, even though the campaign ended late because of the coronavirus pandemic and led to a later transfer window.
“And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club,” he said. “Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700 million clause, and that this is impossible.”
Paying that release clause along with Messi’s wage demands, which Laurens noted checks in at €60 million annually at Barcelona, just wasn’t a realistic option, even for Europe’s top clubs.
Barca acting president Carles Tusquets said Thursday on Catalan radio station RAC1 (via ESPN’s Adriana Garcia) it would have been better for the club’s economics to move Messi.
“Speaking from a financial standpoint, yes,” he said. “But that is something that would have had to have been absolutely agreed with the coaching staff. From an economic standpoint, it would have been desirable to sell Messi.”
Tusquests added the club would “consider” a move for the longtime face of the club in the future because of the pandemic’s “worrying” impact on the club’s finances.
Meanwhile, PSG star Neymar, who spent four years at the Camp Nou alongside Messi, has spoken openly about a potential reunion at the Parc des Princes.
“What I want most of all is to play with Messi again, to be able to enjoy him once again on the pitch,” Neymar told ESPN’s Sam Marsden on Wednesday. “He can play in my place, I have no problem with that! But I want to play with him next year, for sure. We have to do it next season.”
Messi’s contract expires next summer, which will remove a hurdle should PSG make a serious push to sign him.
They figure to face plenty of competition for Argentine international, who’s still one of the world’s best players at age 33.