• Arthur Barratt


The word around Barcelona is that Lionel Messi has not changed his mind about leaving the club, with the Argentine almost certain to leave on a free transfer in the summer.

Neymar has made it clear that he wants his former Barcelona teammate to reunite with him at Paris Saint-German.

In an interview with ESPN, the Brazilian said: “What I want most of all is to play with Messi again, to be able to enjoy him once again on the pitch.

“He can play in my place; I have no problem with that. But I want to play with him next year, for sure. We have to do it next season.”

The 28-year-old’s comments show just how much his thinking has changed since last year, when he publicly tried to leave PSG for Barcelona.

His comments also show how much the Brazilian has changed his mind about playing with the Argentine star. In 2017 he left Barcelona, the main reason being that he wanted to get out of Messi’s shadow. Now, the Brazilian is practically begging to be reunited with him.

With PSG having almost unlimited funds, it seems like a no-brainer to sign Messi in the summer, but they have one main obstacle stopping them: Financial Fair Play.

With Neymar and Kylian Mbappe already on their books, PSG would be breaking FFP if they added Messi’s €100 million a year to their wage bill.

However, Mbappe’s future with PSG is uncertain. The Frenchman will have just a year left on his contract in the summer, and it is widely known he is Real Madrid’s main transfer target.

The Spanish side are desperate to land the 21-year-old and put off signing any players this year so they would be able to finance a move for him.

With PSG unlikely to convince Mbappe to sign a new deal in the next few months, they will be keen to take Madrid up on their offer in the summer.

The dominoes look set to fall perfectly for PSG. They’ll have the opportunity to sign Messi in the summer, but they will have to convince the Argentine to join them over Manchester City.

City are the only other top club in Europe looking to sign Messi this summer, with a reunion with Pep Guardiola being the main attraction for the 32-year-old.

It looks like Thomas Tuchel will leave in the summer, so PSG don’t know who their manager will be next season. Messi may not want to join a project which lacks direction but, equally, the opportunity to play with Neymar again may entice the Argentine to Paris.

The two have remained firm friends, and the possibility to recreate the Barcelona attack of years gone by, may prove to be the deciding factor in the 32-year-old’s decision.

Messi has until the summer to make up his mind about which of the two clubs to join. His decision hangs in the balance.