Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar talked to Lionel Messi over the phone on Thursday about the possibility of the Barcelona captain joining the French club, sources have told ESPN.
Messi’s future has become a considerable point of discussion after he shocked Barcelona by telling them he wants to leave on Tuesday.
As reported on Wednesday by ESPN, PSG are monitoring closely the situation but are yet to make an offer or contact Messi’s father, Jorge, who is also his agent.
However, Neymar has started his lobbying to be reunited in Paris with former teammate Messi. Neymar joined PSG from Barca in 2017 on a record €222 million transfer but has remained close with Messi. In fact, Messi insisted last summer for the Catalan club to bring back Neymar to Barcelona, which was unsuccessful.
PSG midfielder Angel Di Maria, Messi’s close friend and teammate on the Argentina national team, has also spoken to Messi.
With Financial Fair Play regulations, it would be difficult for PSG to make the deal happen but not impossible as sources have stressed on Thursday evening. With the departure of Edinson Cavani, Thiago Silva, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Thomas Meunier, PSG have considerably reduced their wage bill.
The key would be in the transfer fee that PSG might have to pay Barca for Messi’s services. If Messi, 33, can really leave on a free transfer or for a relatively small fee, the Parisians will feel that they can pull this one out. Messi’s contract runs until 2021 and includes a €700 million release clause. However, Messi hopes to execute a clause that would allow him to leave for free.
However, sources have also told ESPN’s Rodrigo Faez and Moises Llorens that Manchester City are weighing up offering Messi a long-term contract that would see him move to MLS partner club New York City FC after three years in the Premier League.
Neymar is on holiday in Ibiza at the moment with his family, along with other PSG players like Di Maria, Keylor Navas and Mauro Icardi and their families, enjoying a few days off before returning to Paris for the start of Ligue 1 season.