Paris Saint-Germain are in advanced talks to sign former Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, according to Sky in Italy.
Talks to sign the 34-year-old have intensified on Friday and it is thought a deal is unlikely to take too long to complete.
It now appears PSG, managed by Messi’s compatriot Mauricio Pochettino, have emerged as the frontrunners for his signature, in a move that would reunite him with former Barcelona team-mate Neymar.
PSG believe they have a good chance of completing a deal and can afford to sign him without breaking any Financial Fair Play rules.
Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos and Georginio Wijnaldum have already arrived at the Parc des Princes on free transfers this summer.
Messi left Barcelona after the La Liga club were unable to fulfil a new contract that had been agreed with the player due to “financial and structural obstacles”.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner had officially been a free agent since July 1 after he failed to agree terms over a renewal before his previous Barca contract expired on June 30.
Messi had spent his entire career at Barcelona, coming through the club’s academy before going on to score 672 goals in 778 appearances after making his senior debut in 2003.
Analysis: The numbers simply do not add up
Sky Sports’ Lyall Thomas:
Barcelona have been unable to register Messi because his new contract would break the club’s proposed wage structure for the 2021/22 season – despite his 50 per cent wage cut.
Wage caps in La Liga are calculated prospectively based on a club’s financial health and they must adhere to the cap in order to avoid financial penalties.
The cost of the Covid-19 pandemic has severely reduced Barca’s budget for the new campaign and, after further talks with the league and Messi on Thursday, the numbers simply do not add up.
A new investment in La Liga from CVC Capital Partners was announced on Wednesday and brought hope of a £230m windfall that would help Messi’s new five-year deal be financially viable.
However, sources in Spain have told Sky Sports News that Barcelona are – at the moment – opposing the CVC investment because they do not want to give up future revenue to the company, along with Real Madrid.
The deal was unanimously approved by La Liga’s executive board but the clubs are yet to vote on it and that is due to take place on August 12. However, clubs in La Liga and Segunda do not need Real and Barca’s approval for the deal to be voted in.
Barcelona have declined to comment further than their statement when contacted by Sky Sports News, and we are also attempting to contact La Liga for their comment.
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