Ex-FC Barcelona star and free agent Lionel Messi has agreed to join PSG, according to various reports, with his father and agent Jorge expected to meet with the Ligue 1 giants in the next few hours.
As confirmed yesterday evening, the Argentine left his former team of 20 years due to financial obstacles, with the Catalans unable to navigate a La Liga salary cap and get a proposed five-year contract over the line.
Between Barca’s official announcement and a press conference held by president Joan Laporta explaining the breakdown in negotiations on Friday morning, PSG opened theirs with the 34-year-old as The Athletic claimed that Messi contacted potential new coach Mauricio Pochettino directly to discuss a move.
“Everything escalated between 9pm and midnight in France,” Adam Crafton explained, adding that PSG were already “exploring avenues with commercial partners to maximize opportunities”, while having calculated “that signing Messi brings more in than it costs.”
Elsewhere, Josep Pederol said on the popular El Chiringuito TV football program that Messi was “very close” to joining PSG.
After Laporta’s one hour and a half grilling from local media, Pep Guardiola ruled out a reunion at Manchester City, who have just spent $139 million and broken the British transfer record to land Jack Grealish.
“As a fan, [I feel] incredible gratitude for the most extraordinary player I have seen in my life,” the Tiki-Taka dynasty coach remarked.
“We were convinced by Grealish and convinced Leo would stay at Barca. Right now he is not in our thoughts.”
This determined a two-horse race between Chelsea and PSG. But Messi is now believed by L’Equipe to have accepted a three-year, $47mn per season after tax deal from the Parisians to join up with former Real Madrid arch nemesis Sergio Ramos, Kylian Mbappe and close friend Neymar – whose offered number 10 jersey he won’t take by instead assuming 19, say Telefoot.
More specifically, the respected French journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi says that Messi has chosen the Parc des Princes as his next destination on a two-year deal with an extra optional year, as Jorge is set to meet PSG – who hope to “wrap up the signing over the weekend” – “in the next few hours”.
PSG plan on keeping Mbappe for the future too, and away from Madrid by presumably signing a new agreement prior to his current arrangement expiring next summer.
Arguably boasting the strongest team in Europe now, it remains to be seen if they can finally land both theirs and Messi’s elusive first and fifth Champions League titles.