Barcelona dropped the earth-shattering news on Thursday night that Lionel Messi will be leaving the club this summer.
With the Argentine having spent several weeks as a free agent, football fans had understandably assumed that it was just a matter of time before Barca would announce the renewal of his contract.
However, with the Blaugrana mired in a financial crisis, the astonishing decision has come to pass that Messi will no longer play football for the Catalan club at which he became a footballing icon.
Messi linked to PSG
As such, supporters are now scratching their heads as to whom will become Messi’s new employers in the weeks to come with everyone from Manchester City to Inter Miami being bounded about.
But of all the clubs being linked with Messi in the aftermath of the news, perhaps none have stood out more than Paris Saint-Germain who have better financial means that most to secure a deal.
Fabrizio Romano has reported that PSG have already made direct contact with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner and The Athletic even claim that Messi himself has contacted Mauricio Pochettino.
BREAKING: Lionel Messi WILL LEAVE Barcelona (Football Terrace)
PSG’s astonishing squad
Marry that to countless other reports linking Messi with a move to the Parc des Princes and you’d certainly be forgiven for thinking that it is likely to prove the Argentine’s most likely destination.
And that’s a terrifying thought when you consider that PSG were already building one of the strongest squads in world football before even the slightest hint that Messi might become available.
Besides, lest we forget that PSG have already splashed the cash on Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum and Gianluigi Donnarumma in what has proven a remarkable transfer window.
So, just imagine how strong PSG would be looking ahead of the 2021/22 campaign if they could field arguably the greatest footballer of all time alongside their already star-studded forwards.
How PSG could line up with Messi
Well, actually, don’t imagine too hard because we’ve taken the liberty of doing the hard work for you, drawing up four remarkable ways that PSG line up if they managed to sign Messi this summer.
From Pochettino’s likeliest set-up to a hilariously attacking XI that we simply couldn’t resist, be sure to check out the insane formations that PSG could genuinely have at their disposal down below:
Let’s face it, this is probably the most-likely scenario. PSG might look to recreate the magic of Barcelona’s famous ‘MSN’ triumvirate, but with Kylian Mbappe inheriting the role of Luis Suarez.
It makes sense not to completely reinvent a PSG front three that has gone far in the Champions League over the last two seasons and Messi is more than comfortable operating out on the right.
Messi at false nine
However, if playing Messi out wide is too much of a compromise, then Pochettino might look to rekindle the magic that Pep Guardiola harboured by playing the magic man as a false nine.
The Argentina icon could drop deep to form a fluid front three with Neymar and Mbappe, which, if working in tandem, could cause Manchester City-esque carnage in the final third during key games.
Switching to a back three is not from without the realms of possibility given Hakimi’s pedigree going forward and the embarrassment of riches that the Parisians now boast at centre-back.
There’s no denying that Messi has transitioned more into the role of a playmaker in recent years, so Pochettino could play the 34-year-old behind Mbappe and Neymar as PSG’s creator in chief.
An unabashedly renegade formation that Pochettino is highly unlikely to play, but one that we’d love to see being fielded against weaker opposition in Ligue 1 in the hope of outrageously large wins.
Angel Di Maria is likely to be one of the fall-guys if Messi moves to France, so it’s nice to imagine a scenario where he lines up with Neymar, Mbappe and his compatriot in a truly insane attack.
A frightening prospect for Europe
Can somebody just pre-order the Champions League trophy for PSG please?
It doesn’t bear thinking about what a PSG side with Messi would be able to achieve next year when so many fans were already tipping them to conquer Europe before Barcelona’s announcement.
However, before we get ahead of ourselves too much, we’ve got to remember that any side chasing Messi’s signature will have to do some serious financial gymnastics before offering a contract.
Can PSG stretch and strain to make things work? Only time will tell, but I think we can all agree that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that surely all the lawyers and accountants in the world will make work, somehow.