According to a report published by L'Equipe, Saudi Arabia is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to bring Lionel Messi to its shores. So much so that the country is willing to spend as much money as it is necessary to bring Messi to the Middle Eastern country.
The Saudi Arabian government has reportedly targeted a number of players, including Marco Verratti and Sergio Ramos, to create an environment that is conducive to the Argentinian's arrival as soon as next summer.
While Messi has returned to training with PSG before completing his two-week suspension for his controversial trip to Saudi Arabia, his future with the French club remains uncertain--as rosy a picture as Paris Saint-Germain want to paint.
The Middle Eastern country--particularly, Saudi club Al-Hilal--is keen on securing the signing of Messi, following their successful acquisition of Cristiano Ronaldo last winter (in this case signing with rivals Al-Nassr).
The kingdom is reportedly offering a huge sum of money, reportedly between €500m and €600m spread over the duration of the contract, to lure Messi to the Arabian Peninsula.
However, the Saudi Arabian government is also taking a more strategic approach to its pursuit of Messi. The government is reportedly targeting Messi' friends and past/international teammates, with a shortlist that includes a number of Messi's teammates.
Among them, there are Sergio Ramos, whose contract with PSG is also set to expire at the end of the season, and Marco Verratti, who is currently contemplating his future at PSG. The Italian midfielder is known to be highly valued by Messi in their daily lives.
In addition to Verratti and Ramos, Saudi Arabia is said to be interested in other players with links to Messi, including current Barcelona players Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets. The Argentina international team might also provide some options Saudi Arabia could explore, including Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes who are still linked to PSG and in consideration as part of the Middle Eastern offensive.
While Messi's current contract with PSG runs until June 2023 with an option for another year if both the player and the club agree to execute bi-laterally, it remains to be seen whether he will be enticed by Saudi Arabia's ambitious plans or if he'd rather stay in Paris or move to another European/American club.