Paris Saint-Germain cause consternation with open Lionel Messi chase
As the most dominant player of all-time, arguably, Lionel Messi has fans all over the world. Even fans of rivals such as Real Madrid would find it impossible not to respect, even revere, his talent and his accomplishments. Should the player ever come on the market, it was believed that just about every team in the world would look to push their bank managers to find space for the deal. With Messi set to become a free agent in the summer of 2021, then, some clubs are openly making their case known.
Chief among them has been Paris Saint-Germain. The Parisians have a strange relationship with Barcelona, having angered them when they signed Neymar. They look to have further poked the bear in Catalunya, so to speak, by making pretty public comments from players and management regarding the opportunity to sign Messi. Even new manager Mauricio Pochettino was unable to hide his interest in making the signing happen. However, it is the words of compatriots like Leandro Paredes and Angel di Maria who have annoyed Barca the most with the openness of their campaign to see Messi arrive.
It has left Barcelona looking for solutions to the issue, feeling like they are being openly spoken about in the transfer market. Their manager, Ronald Koeman, accused PSG of lacking respect for Barcelona or the player. It has become a murky transfer chase, much like when Neymar was slowly but surely seduced into the idea of becoming a star in Paris.
Can PSG afford to sign Lionel Messi?
Of course, as ever, the question comes down to finance. Despite being owned by arguably the largest financial backing in football, PSG are keen not to push the boundaries too often. This means that they do what they can to stay within Financial Fair Play laws, and look to try and find mediation as opposed to aggravation with the governing bodies. So, with reports of a new 4-year deal for Neymar, and deals for Kylian Mbappe also being mooted, can PSG really afford to sign Messi in the summer?
Many believe that it could be done through various convoluted plans, such as having Messi work as part of the 2022 FIFA World Cup delegation, or see the majority of his incoming paid via third party sponsorship. However, such suggestions have been made in the past and have never really come to any kind of meaningful fruition. At the moment, PSG would likely have to shed a lot of their squad depth if they wished to bring in the Argentine legend.
For now, then, it is likely to become a little bit more difficult for a solution to be sought. Messi could be a player who ends up staying at Barcelona, but the lures from other clubs are becoming louder and louder. For Barcelona, trying to convince their fans that the long-term future is secure, there are obvious concerns about how this looks in public. Has the hunter become the hunted after so many years of dominance?