According to Julien Laurens of ESPN, Lionel Messi is unlikely to renew his contract with PSG and looks bound for an exit in the summer transfer window as a free agent.
The news of the two parties potentially going their separate ways was broken earlier today by L’Equipe. Now, corroborating those claims, Julien Laurens is writing that PSG and Messi are headed for divorce this summer, with negotiations over a new deal at a standstill.
As per the report, the Parisian giants want Messi to take a 25% pay cut on his current €40 million gross salary. However, the Argentine international is unwilling to do so at this point.
Messi was expected to renew with PSG up until December last year, but the scenario has flipped completely since then.
The report states that Les Parisiens have doubts about Messi’s level as he has been unable to replicate his form at the World Cup in recent games, especially during their UEFA Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich.
Meanwhile, Messi is understood to be very upset at the treatment he has been receiving from PSG fans, who have whistled and jeered at him in the French champions’ last two home matches at Parc des Princes
A new meeting is reportedly scheduled between PSG and Messi’s father/agent, Jorge, for later this month. But, as things stand, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has left the door open for offers from elsewhere.
Reports suggest that Barcelona are now ready to ramp up their efforts to re-sign their former captain, with a one-year contract with an option of an additional twelve months likely to be tabled in the coming days.
At the same time, the 35-year-old continues to court interest from MLS club Inter Miami and Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia.
However, it has been previously reported that Messi wants to stay in Europe and continue playing at the highest level. So, Barcelona are likely to be his best option in case he decides to leave PSG. But the Catalans will have major work to do in order to re-sign their club legend.