Messi ‘closing in on PSG move’ after Barcelona exit

The iconic six-time Ballon d’Or winner is on the lookout for a new club after Barcelona sensationally announced on Thursday that “financial and structural obstacles” would prevent them from getting an agreed new lucrative five-year contract over the line.

Such a bombshell has inevitably led to fervent speculation over free agent Messi’s next destination after ending one of football’s most successful-ever partnerships that yielded 672 goals in 778 senior appearances over 17 years and 34 major trophies, including 10 LaLiga titles, four Champions League triumphs, seven Copa del Rey wins and three Club World Cup victories.

Manchester City’s financial means and the presence of Pep Guardiola have long since seen them touted as a potential next destination for Messi, but the manager insisted on Friday that the Argentine superstar was not currently a target as the reigning Premier League champions continue to pursue a deal for wantaway Tottenham striker Harry Kane after clinching the £100million British record signing of England team-mate Jack Grealish from Aston Villa on Thursday.

A potential move to Major League Soccer (MLS) in the USA has also been mooted for Messi with David Beckham’s Inter Miami franchise, but PSG have quickly emerged as the favourites to seal his signature.

Indeed, widespread reports on Friday night, including from Sky in Italy, claimed that the Parisian giants were already in advanced talks to agree a deal with the 34-year-old’s camp.

According to those reports, PSG are confident of agreeing a contract over the weekend and crucially believe they can do so while still staying on the right side of Uefa’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) restrictions.

Reports from France suggest the offer to Messi – who is represented by his father Jorge – will be a two-year deal that includes the option for a further 12 months.

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By reuniting with former Barcelona team-mate Neymar in a formidable attack that also includes French star Kylian Mbappe, Messi would become PSG’s sixth signing of a busy summer as they bid to regain their Ligue 1 crown after missing out to Lille on the final day last term and also finally win the Champions League.

Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG have already signed Real Madrid legend Sergio Ramos and former Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum this summer as well as Italy’s European Championship final hero Gianluigi Donnarumma, with all those signings coming on free transfers with big wages.

They also paid an initial €60m to Inter Milan for highly-rated Moroccan wing-back Achraf Hakimi and converted Portuguese defensive midfielder Danilo Pereira’s loan from FC Porto into a permanent arrangement.

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