Lionel Messi is ‘expected’ to sign a two-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain in the coming days, following his surprise departure from Barcelona on Thursday.
Having angled for a move away from the Catalan giants last summer, the 34-year-old looked set to do a u-turn and agree a new contract to extend his 21-year stay at the Nou Camp with his existing deal having expired over the summer.
However, even after agreeing to take a 50% wage cut due to the club’s wretched financial situation, the Argentine has been forced to leave the club, with La Liga putting a block on any new contract due to Barcelona’s hefty wage bill and their inability to shift the high-earning deadwood at the club.
With the six-time Ballon d’Or winner now available on a ‘free’ transfer, it has sparked a mad scramble among Europe’s elite for his signature, albeit with PSG now looking clear favourites to pluck him this summer.
As per the Telegraph, Messi is now ‘expected’ to sign a two-year deal – with the option of a third – with the Ligue 1 side, reuniting the forward with his former Blaugrana teammate, Neymar.
The report suggests that the two parties had been in contact just a matter of hours after Messi’s departure was made official by his former club, with a deal likely to be wrapped up swiftly after negotiations between Jorge Messi – the player’s father and representative – and the Parisien club.
Despite initial resistance to the idea of signing the Copa America winner due to the expected cost, PSG are said to have ‘crunched the numbers’ and believe that a deal can be done without impinging upon Financial Fair Play restrictions, moving ahead of potential Premier League interest in the pursuit of the player.
While the deal alone represents a huge coup for the club, it also rubber stamps what’s been a hugely successful transfer market, having already bought in Gini Wijnaldum, Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma on free transfers, as well as Inter Milan defender Achraf Hakimi.
The only potential downside is the impact it may have on Kylian Mbappe, the young Frenchman rumoured to be angling for a move away with just a year remaining on his current deal, amid long-standing interest from Real Madrid.
It is also likely to impinge on the club’s reported interest in Manchester United midfielder, Paul Pogba.