No room for Lionel Messi in the new model to build PSG

Lionel Messi, PSG
Lionel Messi, PSG / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

The Lionel Messi vs. PSG saga keeps going and it doesn't look any closer to reaching a final resolution. According to insider Jonathan Johnson, PSG have all the leverage in their negotiations with the Argentine world champion.

Writing in his newsletter on Friday, Johnson spends a few paragraphs discussing the future of Messi and PSG, whether that is together or separating their ways.

Johnson thinks it is "important to look at what’s been happening on the pitch since the World Cup," pointing out that Messi and most of his teammates "haven’t been nearly as good" after the break.

One of the main reasons for the current stalemate in the negotiations, as Johnson sees it, is that multiple players "haven’t been able to repeat the strong form and consistency they showed in the first half of the season," which has brought doubts to both Messi and Paris Saint-Germain related to the future of the team and how valuable the Argentine might be from next season forward.

Just for context, PSG have lost eight games in 2023 alone on their way to crashing out of the Champions League and the Coupe de France, only looking at a potential Ligue 1 title as their season-saver.

Obviously, Messi is not the only player to blame for the drop in form and those eliminations, but he hasn't helped himself and Johnson thinks the superstar "does not have a massive amount of leverage" in the negotiations for his extension with PSG.

"[Messi's] contract, which is very expensive, is expiring, and PSG need to trim their wage bill to keep in line with Financial Fair Play," said Johnson. "There’s a growing pressure for PSG to move away from this model of bringing in aging superstars and to build more around younger, local players."

Could the new "young, local, and French" PSG model force the sale of Lionel Messi?

The above statements, of course, led Johnson to close his essay by writing that "the likes of Messi and Sergio Ramos are becoming a little less important," also revealing that "powerful people behind the scenes (at PSG) are recognizing the financial headache [having those veterans] is giving the club."

According to Johnson's information, "ultimately, it will be with the Qatari owners to decide about how the project will move forwards," to which he added that "it seems likely it’ll be built around Kylian Mbappe and other French players," and without Messi and Ramos by extension.

Johnson thinks "PSG [want] to move away from this model of bringing in aging superstars," favoring instead a model "built around younger, local players."

The insider thinks "we’ll see a more severe change in direction this summer," and he also states that "it wouldn’t surprise me if we see Messi move on as part of that."

However, Johnson warned people that the negotiations will "also depend on how desperate the Argentine is to play in Europe for a bit longer and have another stab at winning the Champions League." Of course, if there are no viable alternatives for Messi other than re-signing with PSG, then there is always a chance he lowers his demands and Paris Saint-Germain budges and ends up inking him to an extension.

"There’s no guarantee that Barcelona will be a happy homecoming for him because there are so many question marks about their finances as well at this moment in time," revealed Johnson.

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According to the information Johnson has gathered, the insider revealed that "all the noises coming out of the Parc des Princes in the last few weeks" make it look "more and more likely" that Messi will end up leaving PSG next summer.