Barcelona are reportedly planning to offer Lionel Messi a new two-year deal this week in an ambitious attempt to keep hold of the world’s best player.
Jorge Messi is set to meet Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu for showdown talks on Wednesday as the transfer wrangle that has gripped football threatens to culminate in a legal row.
The Catalan club want any suitors for Messi to pay the Argentine superstar’s astronomical £625million release clause, after he told bosses he wants to leave the Nou Camp.
A clause which entitled Messi to leave for free according expired on June 10 – but he has argued it should still be active after the football season was extended due to the coronavirus crisis.
And according to ESPN, Messi’s dad will ask Bartomeu to honour that clause – even though La Liga has backed Barcelona’s stance
Creo, solo creo aún, no se puede confirmar, pero creo nos viene y se aproxima…
Ni una puta tarde tranquila de miércoles…
— moisESPN (@moillorens) August 31, 2020
If the president refuses, the two parties could face a legal battle over the player’s £625m release clause.
But rather than allow that happen, Bartomeu is instead expected to try and circumvent interest from Europe’s top clubs by offering Messi a huge new deal.
That will involve a significant outlay – with Forbes having last year ranked the six-times Ballon d’Or winner as the world’s highest-paid athlete on wages of around £26m per year.
He will also have to convince Messi Snr that Barca can still compete for the biggest prizes in club football as the 33-year-old seeks more silverware in the final stages of his career.
Bartomeu will meet Messi Snr knowing European football’s big guns are lining up to swoop for Messi.
Manchester City are at the front of that queue as they bid to set up a tantalising reunion between the forward and his former Barca mentor, Pep Guardiola.
But also hopeful of landing the four-time Champions League winner are Paris-Saint Germain, Inter Milan and Juventus – who could team Messi up with Cristiano Ronaldo in a devastating attack that would strike fear into defences across Europe.
Messi snubbed Monday afternoon’s training session with new boss Ronald Koeman after missing Barcelona’s coronavirus tests on Sunday.
But the Catalan giants know that if they punish their star man they could push the row beyond the point of no return.
Messi is digging in on his stance that he no longer needs to train at a club where he is no longer under contract.
Without a coronavirus test he will not be able to train with his team-mates anyway – meaning he is unable to prepare with them for the new season.
Meanwhile Messi’s cousin Maximiliano Biancucchi Cuccittini said Guardiola’s City side would be “a good fit” for the player.
“Of all the teams that have been suggested, I feel that Manchester City would be a good fit,” he said. “Another would be PSG, but we are going to have to wait, and wherever he goes he will be happy and have peace.”