Lionel Messi: New Barcelona president vows to keep star
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Lionel Messi is currently facing an uncertain future at Barcelona. And it’s now been claimed that Paris Saint-Germain stand the best chance of securing his signing in this summer’s transfer window. Manchester City are also keen on the 33-year-old, whose contract expires at the end of the current campaign.
Messi has spent the entirety of his professional career at Barcelona but, last summer, tried to secure a move away.
The Argentina international had grown frustrated by the club’s lack of ambition, with relations with Josep Maria Bartomeu also souring behind the scenes.
In the end, Barcelona kept hold of Messi.
Yet uncertainty continues to surround his future, with both Manchester City and PSG keen to secure his signing this summer.
City boss Pep Guardiola previously managed Messi at Barcelona and would jump at the chance of a reunion over at the Etihad Stadium.
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But PSG are keen on his acquisition, too, with the Ligue 1 giants enticed by the idea of deploying him alongside the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in their attack.
And Football Espana’s Alan Feehely has told CaughtOffside that PSG are now the frontrunners in the race to sign Messi, though a Barcelona stay is looking increasingly likely.
“The only person who knows that is Lionel Messi himself,” he said when asked what will happen with the forward.
“Were the Argentine to have left Barcelona last summer as he desired, it would have unquestionably been Manchester City who acquired his services.
“As it happened, he stayed, and now my feeling is that it would be Paris Saint-Germain who stands the best chance of taking him from the club he joined as a child.
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“The winds of change have blown at Barcelona, however, both on and off the pitch.
“Joan Laporta is the living embodiment of the club that revolutionised world football toward the tail end of the 2000s, while Ronald Koeman has revitalised the team, trimmed the fat and incorporated youth to make them look like a club with serious potential again.
“Were I to put my money on it, I’d bet on Messi staying put and looking to lead one last great Barcelona team to Champions League glory.”
Another player being linked with the Barcelona exit door is Philippe Coutinho.
And Feehely thinks they’ll struggle to find a buyer for the former Liverpool star, meaning another loan move away looks to be on the cards.
He said: “It’s going to be difficult for Barcelona to find a buyer for Philippe Coutinho.
“The Brazilian cost a bomb and commands a serious wage, one nobody in European football who’s thinking straight would match were they to prise him from Camp Nou.
“I think that if Barcelona could sell him and get his wages off the books they’d jump at the chance, but another loan spell is the most likely option.
“Coutinho looked like he could find his form at the beginning of the season, only for injury to knock him down the pecking order. I don’t think he’ll be part of Barcelona’s future.”
Meanwhile, speaking recently, new Barcelona president Joan Laporta has insisted he’ll do all he can to keep Messi at the club.
“I take the opportunity to say again that I will try to convince Leo (Messi) to stay with us,” he said.
“That is a must-do task, I will do all I can. He knows it.
“Whatever he does will be OK but we will try to make him stay because he is the best player in the history of football.
“And my apologies Leo, for saying this right here and right now, but you know of my love for you, Barca loves you a lot and if this stadium would be full when you play the next game I am sure you wouldn’t be able to leave.”
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