Lionel Messi and Barcelona have cut ties leaving the Argentine free to seek pastures new with European heavyweights Man City and PSG both linked with the striker
The footballing world is waiting to see what Lionel Messi does next after it was confirmed he is leaving Barcelona after nearly two decades.
Messi’s future has been the subject of speculation for the last 12 months after he tried to quit the Nou Camp last summer.
He was forced to stay but looked to have had a change of heart and was ready to pen a new deal.
Barcelona’s financial problems delayed the contract being signed but on Thursday the Spanish giants announced they and the six-time Ballon d’Or winner were going their separate ways.
So arguably the greatest footballer of all-time is now available for nothing. Immediately attention turns, not to who wants him, but who can afford him.
Even without a transfer fee the finances involved in signing Messi are huge, due to his wages.
Manchester City and PSG are possibly Europe’s two richest clubs so it is inevitable that they appear to lead the race.
A move to City would allow Messi to reunite with Pep Guardiola, the man who had possibly the greatest influence on his career.
The Catalan has never hidden his admiration for the Argentine and they were linked with him last summer.
A deal was reportedly tabled that includes clauses allowing Messi to eventually move to the MLS with New York City FC – a club owned by City’s owners.
But Goal claimed back in February that the Premier League champions had not made any offers for Messi.
That could allow PSG to steal a march, but several pieces still have to fall into place if he is to move to Paris.
The Qatari-backed French side do not have any financial worries should they pursue the 34-year-old.
Kylian Mbappe’s contract is currently top of their agenda with less than a year until he becomes a free agent.
Le 10 Sport report that having Messi, Mbappe and Neymar on their wage bill is not as issue.
However PSG chief Leonardo is going to have to sell several players if he wants to pursue the Copa America winner.
A move to the Parc des Princes makes sense for a lot of reasons – Messi could reunite with Neymar once more and also play under his compatriot, Mauricio Pochettino.
The former Tottenham boss did little to quash the rumour mill when questioned on a possible move.
He said: “When you talk about players of his stature I think that many clubs, and in this case Paris St Germain, these opportunities sometimes come up and sometimes they don’t.
“The club is working hard, as I said, and if there is any information we will let you know. In every case, we are evaluating the options, and of course this is one of those.
“When we talk about the transfer window, it is obvious that this is something that could happen.”
A switch to the MLS continues to appeal to Messi, whilst his wife is supposedly in favour of the idea.
David Beckham’s Inter Miami have been touted as the most likely destination as they look to establish themselves as a force in the American game.