This is according to Martin Lipton of The Sun, who ‘exclusively’ reveals that Messi has given his clearest indication yet that he is ready to listen to offers from English clubs.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner is reportedly angry at ongoing issues with the Spanish tax authorities. He is due to stand trial, along with his father Jorge, on tax fraud charges after a court in Spain rejected a request to drop proceedings against the Argentina international.
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Messi has always stated his desire to finish his career with Barcelona, the club he joined as a 13-year-old in 2001, but there is a chance that dream will fail to materialise if he feels forced out of the country because of the aforementioned Spanish tax authorities.
If the charges were dropped, it’s hard to imagine that Messi would have any interest in leaving the Camp Nou, where he has cemented his reputation as arguably the greatest footballer of all time and where he has earned his fortune.
2016 deal impossible, 2017, however...
Despite the immense wealth possessed by the three English clubs, none of them would be able to finance a deal for Messi this summer.
It would cost them €250 million just to trigger his release clause - Barcelona are unlikely to sell for anything less than that - plus his astronomical wage demands on top of that.
By June 2017, though, Messi will be 30 years old and will have one year remaining on his contract. The Sun reckon Barcelona would be more willing to sell if the South American star fails to put pen to paper on a contract extension, which sounds reasonable enough.
Phenomenal potential signing
Because Messi doesn’t rely on pace and power, he would still be a phenomenal signing in 2017, even at the age of 30.
But Barcelona won’t let him leave the club of his heart without a fight.
Manchester United fans: would you rather sign Lionel Messi in 2017, or bring back Cristiano Ronaldo? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!