PARIS Saint-Germain are confident of striking a deal to sign Lionel Messi after making progress in negotiations with the forward’s representatives. The club have been pushing for the Argentina international since Thursday, when Barcelona announced he would be leaving.
Talks are focused on ensuring any deal stays within the boundaries of financial fair play, and agreeing a contract length and salary. Messi had accepted a substantial pay cut to about €20m a season to stay at Barcelona but his deal was due to run for five years, ending just after he turns 39.
PSG expect discussions to continue at least until the end of Saturday. They hope the presence at the club of an Argentinian manager, Mauricio Pochettino, and Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Neymar will help to smooth a deal. Messi has spoken to Pochettino since he was told by Barcelona that his time there had to end and Neymar is working to convince Messi to come to Paris.
Messi turned down PSG and Manchester City some months ago, but Barcelona said financial restrictions have prevented them from renewing the contract of a player who has officially been a free agent since the end of June. PSG believe signing Messi – and partnering him with Neymar – would drive up their commercial revenues, and that will be factored into financial fair play considerations.
Pep Guardiola did not explicitly rule out City pursuing Messi but his priority is to try to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham and he said: “Right now it is not in our thoughts [to sign Messi], absolutely not.”