Lionel Messi 360: The view from all sides as Man City, Paris Saint-Germain, MLS clubs prepare to lure Barcelona star

Lionel Messi is now free to converse to clubs outdoors of Spain about lastly leaving Barcelona in the summertime however – regardless of final yr’s switch request – does he nonetheless need to go away?

His future is shrouded in uncertainty with each choice on the desk, so Sky Sports News has pulled collectively this complete evaluation from all sides of the equation.

Will he be reunited with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City? Will he play for compatriot Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain? Will he fly straight to the United States to play in MLS? Or will he end his profession as a one-club man and stick with Barcelona?

Here are all the potential eventualities, what’s in them for Messi, and the way each might transpire…

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The view from… Lionel Messi

Messi has publicly confirmed that he’ll wait till the tip of the season earlier than making a last determination on his unsure future at Barcelona.

In a prolonged interview with Spanish broadcaster La Sexta earlier than Christmas, the Argentina ahead mentioned: “What matters now is thinking about the team, finishing the year well and not being distracted by other things. I don’t know what will happen. I’m focused on what we have here and battling for whatever we can. I’ll wait until the season is over.”

That is when his Barca contract expires and he expects to have 4 choices; keep on the Nou Camp, signal for both Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain, or transfer to the USA and end his profession in Major League Soccer.

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Lionel Messi has scored 10 objectives in 19 appearances for Barcelona this season after making an attempt to go away the membership final summer time

He said additional in his interview that “I’ve always had the dream of playing in another league, in the United States” however that “he doesn’t know if it will happen”, which fuelled the prospect of a switch in another country in the summertime.

So his future is hanging delicately within the steadiness as the January switch window opens, with Messi now free to converse to different clubs outdoors of Spain and the platform set for these suitors to persuade him his future lies with them.

However, it’s clear now that Messi desires to see the result of Barca’s January 24 presidential election and doubtlessly meet the winner to pay attention to their future undertaking, and the place he would slot in.

That offers the likes of City, PSG and MLS groups simply three weeks to make their case forward of the Catalans. Otherwise a four-way battle will guarantee within the months working up to June, which is able to embody the boyhood membership he nonetheless has a lot affection for.

The view from… Barcelona

There is just not an important deal that Barcelona’s interim board can do to assist persuade Messi to keep and signal one other contract earlier than the election. That job will likely be within the arms of the brand new president.

For that, there are actually solely two favourites for the job; Joan Laporta, who has been president earlier than, and Victor Font, the telecommunications entrepreneur.

While there is no such thing as a indication that Messi prefers both, and the participant has been retaining effectively out of the best way of the controversy to date, Laporta has an excellent relationship with him having overseen essentially the most profitable interval within the membership’s historical past with Guardiola as head coach.

And Laporta mentioned just lately he would do “everything possible” to preserve Messi if he returns for an additional spell on the helm

Font, in the meantime, desires to rebuild Barca from the underside up; producing its gamers from La Masia academy, and he has been working with certainly one of its greatest merchandise – Messi’s former team-mate Xavi – to return as head coach.

Xavi is anticipated to be amongst Laporta’s issues too however, on Messi, Font has mentioned: “I’m convinced that with a competitive, exciting and, especially in Messi’s case, long-term project – one that could even go beyond the day that Messi retires – we will convince him to stay.”

The frontrunners will start to emerge this month and they’re anticipated to point out who will take up key positions within the hierarchy. These developments may have a mark on Messi’s considering, however it’s actually solely when the election is made, and a agency blueprint put ahead, {that a} important bearing on Messi’s future will likely be made.

The view from… Manchester City

City had been within the strongest place to signal Messi final summer time, if he might have extracted himself from his contract through that disputed exit clause.

Sky Sports News was instructed then that each Messi and Guardiola wished to renew their partnership on the Etihad – placing the Premier League runners-up in a commanding lead over different suitors – and that continues to be the case, particularly now Messi is ready to be obtainable for no switch payment this summer time.

The powerbrokers at Man City are intrinsically linked to Barcelona, with Guardiola, director of soccer Txiki Begiristain, chief govt Ferran Soriano and chief soccer operations officer Omar Berrada all having beforehand labored there – and so they had been cautious about turning into embroiled in final yr’s row between Messi and the board.

But now that they will negotiate a transfer with Messi on sound footing, throughout the guidelines and with out upsetting their former employers, which solely will increase their hand, and so they can start to promote what’s reportedly a ten-year plan for Messi to be concerned with the City Football Group (CFG).

City could have grown into certainly one of England’s high clubs and are amongst Europe’s greatest however they’re nonetheless behind within the Champions League and even additional missing of their world model. Signing arguably one of the best participant of his technology, recent from breaking the all-time membership goalscoring file set by Pele, would speed up their renown worldwide.

Conveniently, additionally they personal an MLS crew in New York City which might go well with Messi’s need to end his profession in America down to the bottom.

The view from… Paris Saint-Germain

Sky Sports News’ Bryan Swanson:

The arrival of fellow Argentinean Pochettino as Paris Saint-Germain boss has solely intensified hypothesis that Messi is destined for the Parc des Princes.

And no one throughout the membership seems to be distancing themselves from a transfer for the participant at some stage.

One supply aware of the membership’s switch exercise says it’s too early to say whether or not PSG will make their transfer, however Pochettino himself insisted “any big player in the world is always welcome at PSG”, when requested about Messi at his unveiling this week.

What is obvious is {that a} Messi transfer could be widespread with the gamers, particularly his ex-Barcelona team-mate Neymar.

Messi has spoken publicly prior to now about wanting the Brazil star to return to Barcelona, and touched on the topic once more in his La Sexta interview. He mentioned: “Neymar would be extremely expensive. How would the club pay PSG for the transfer?

“The scenario will likely be robust for the brand new president, who may have to be clever and get all the pieces so as. Changes will likely be wanted for him to do effectively.

“I don’t know if Neymar said that (that the two would play together next year). You’d have to ask him about what he said. We do chat sometimes and we are in touch.”

Neymar requested PSG to signal him in the course of the Messi debacle of final August, as Sky Sports News reported on the time, and Neymar reiterated his opinion on the matter final month.

PSG and Argentina participant Leandro Paredes additionally instructed ESPN: “Messi at PSG? I hope so, we all want him to come but it will be his decision.”

PSG sporting director Leonardo respects Barcelona, and doesn’t like speaking about their gamers – however, considerably, he has not fully dominated out the transfer.

The view from… Major League Soccer

With Messi having already expressed his need to play within the USA’s high league, it’s extra a matter of the place than if he’ll play.

In which City he would most like to stay will inevitably play an element too, giving the likes of LA Galaxy, the New York clubs City and Red Bulls, and David Beckham’s Inter Miami an obvious benefit.

Galaxy clearly have a longtime monitor file of internet hosting the sport’s greatest names together with Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in recent times, which is able to assist their trigger, and so they have reportedly made overtures in direction of Messi as way back as January 2020.

But arguably within the driving seat could be New York City – below the identical CFG flag as Manchester City and which might clearly type a part of their long-term imaginative and prescient for the participant. The crew are comparatively new nonetheless, and Messi’s arrival would instil them into town’s tradition.

Beckham, in the meantime, alongside along with his legacy in MLS – in each a enjoying and enterprise capability – might additionally present Messi with a useful path into, and mentor for, the US soccer scene.

MLS groups are already scrambling to work out the financials and legalities of signing Messi, and the way partnerships with clubs in Europe might doubtlessly assist their trigger. And one Barcelona presidential candidate, Xavi Vilajoana, reportedly desires to purchase an MLS franchise as a part of their bid to preserve Messi on the Nou Camp.

Regardless of the place he finally ends up, Messi’s presence in MLS ought to assist surge the sport even additional into the nationwide consciousness.

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