Clubs who are interested in signing Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi- should he hand in a transfer request- will be required to pay his staggering £631-million release clause to land his services, according to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo.
The Argentine talisman has one year left on his current contract but speculation over his future at the Catalan club has been intensifying after the La Liga giants endured one of their worst seasons ever.
Lionel Messi believed to be keen on a departure from Barcelona
Lionel Messi is said to be disillusioned with life at Barcelona after finishing the 2019-20 campaign with no titles. The Blaugrana failed to win a single trophy for the first time since 2014, giving up the La Liga title to Real Madrid towards the end of the campaign and suffering a humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarter-final stage of the Champions League.
Catalan radio RAC1 claims that Lionel Messi has even told the Dutch manager that he does not see his future at Camp Nou during crunch talks. Meanwhile, other Spanish reports claim that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner is determined to leave the club as soon as possible.
Barcelona are unsurprisingly keen on keeping their star man and have reportedly made it clear that any club who wants to sign him will have to pay three times the world-record transfer fee Paris Saint-Germain paid them for Neymar in 2017.
An interested club would either have to pay his £631-million release clause or must be resigned to the fact that a deal cannot be made without matching the astronomical amount.
PSG themselves have been reported to be interested in bringing Lionel Messi to the Parc des Princes and are among the few clubs who have the financial capacity to meet his buyout clause.
Addressing the rumours, PSG boss Thomas Tuchel told BT Sport,
“What coach says no to Messi? I think Messi finishes his career in Barcelona. He is Mr Barcelona. We decided not to talk about transfers in this period. We will sit together in the next days. We have many things to do to keep the level of the squad.”
Ronald Koeman has also given his thoughts on Lionel Messi’s current situation at Barcelona saying:
“I don’t know if I have to convince Messi [to stay], whether it’s that or not. He is the best player in the world and the best player in the world you want in your team, you don’t want him playing against you.”
“As a coach I would love to work with Messi because he wins matches. If he’s at the ability and level he has always shown I’d be more than happy for him to stay.”
It remains to be seen if Lionel Messi decides to stay at Barcelona or if he truly leaves the club soon.