Reports are now suggesting that Lionel Messi is ‘seriously evaluating staying at Barcelona’, despite Manchester City’s hopes to secure the unsettled forward in a €100m deal.
Messi’s future has emerged as the story of the summer with the Argentine rocking Barcelona with the declaration he wants out of the Camp Nou, the record six-time Ballon d’Or winner disillusioned following a turbulent period and reportedly keen on a reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Barcelona have made it clear that they have no intention of selling the 33-year-old, with La Liga confirming that his release clause remains at €700m, despite the Argentina captain’s he would be to leave the club for free and subsequent refusal to rejoin the squad for pre-season training.
According to the Telegraph, Messi’s representatives are hopeful the star will be allowed to depart this summer for a fee of €100m – a figure which makes a move to the Premier League a possibility – after ‘benchmarking’ a possible transfer against the deal that took Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid to Juventus two years ago.
Messi’s father and agent, Jorge, flew to Barcelona on Wednesday for a meeting with the club hierarchy in search of a resolution, and according to reports in Argentina, the talks have edged the star closer to a u-turn on his future, saying there is now a 90 per cent chance of the club’s greatest ever player remaining at Barcelona next season – with a decision potentially being made on Thursday.
“There is a 90% chance that Messi will continue in Barcelona. This Thursday he will have a final decision,” said journalist Martin Arevalo of TyC Sports, as per Mundo Deportivo.
“Messi is seriously evaluating staying in Barcelona until 2021 and leaving through the front door at the end of his contract.”
Arevalo – who previously broke the news of Messi’s shock transfer request last week – took to social media to reaffirm his belief that the unsettled star will see out the final year of his contract in Catalonia.
“This Thursday defines Leo Messi But there is a new scenario: there are concrete chances that the best in the world will continue until June 2021 and fulfil his contract. At this point, he is evaluating it. The leaders asked him to please stay. Leo will solve shortly. And it will communicate. We’ll see how it ends. “
Meanwhile, Marcelo Sattile of FOX Sport Argentina also backed up the claims, saying: “from Leo’s environment they affirm that the meeting was good and the possibility of continuity for one more season in Barcelona is growing.”