Jorge Messi denies reports while waiting for Barcelona
According to a Saudi source close to Lionel Messi, speaking to AFP on Tuesday, "Messi should play in the Saudi league next season," as we reported yesterday. Later on the day, Messi's father Jorge denied such reports of a deal being already in place between Lionel and any Saudi Arabia club, reports L'Equipe.
Al-Hilal is very likely the club that will offer him a salary of €500m per year for a two-season contract with an optional third year, something unheard of no matter the sport we're discussing.
Although negotiations seem to be going well between both parties and there is in fact an open from Saudi Arabia on Messi's table, the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner is still unsure whether he wants to continue his career in the Saudi Pro League or stay in Europe if such option exists.
Messi would prefer to keep playing in a competitive league across Europe for at least one or two more seasons, and a return to Barcelona is his ideal option entering next summer. However, Barcelona "must make at least €200m in the financial room in order to register several of their players and those they want to sign," even before considering landing Messi, says L'Equipe.
Messi's father and representative, Jorge Messi, denied the latest information reported on Tuesday talking about a deal being already in place between his family and Saudi Arabia. He said that a decision would be made "at the end of the season."
According to Jorge, the world champion "wants to take his time before revealing his decision," and it is believed that one potential obstacle to his move to the Middle Eastern region is his wife does not want to live in Riyadh.
David Beckham's Inter Miami also hopes to attract Messi, but a move to the United States seems to be a bit of a stretch at this point. Messi is waiting to see if some big club in Europe can make room for his wage and offer him a sizable deal while offering him the chance of playing Champions League football next season.
If Barcelona want to bring Messi back, the Spaniards will need to sell "several players" and also "lower their payroll," which according to L'Equipe will be "a very complex mission."
However, the Spanish team is considering several scenarios, and the first phase of "Operation Messi," as labeled by the French media outlet, involves lowering the payroll from "€648m to €478m". To achieve this, Barcelona is counting on several departures, including that of Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba to get rid of their hefty salaries while also selling other younger players to recover around €120m thanks to those sales.
Players like Frank Kessie, Ansu Fati, and Raphinha are believed to be on the transfer market because of the potential arrival of Messi, which is more than a shortsighted approach to squad building considering Messi is closer to turning 40 than he is to be 30 years old...
Alas, Barcelona's problem and PSG's relief.