PSG planning for future with or without Messi as Barcelona links grow
The World Cup winner is out of contract in Paris at the end of the season
Paris Saint-Germain's elimination in the last 16 of the Champions League at the hands of Bayern Munich (3-0 on aggregate) has marked the roadmap for the French side's sporting planning for next season. It is the fifth time in seven years that PSG have been knocked out of Europe's top competition in the first knockout round. A reshuffle is in the works, with or without Lionel Messi.
With no European matches to play for the remainder of the season, Paris Saint-Germain are working on two scenarios, the protagonist of which -- of course -- is Messi. The forward's contract expires in three months and he has not yet decided which shirt he will wear next season. Although it is not clear, PSG's priority is to get the green light for the Argentinian's renewal.
Nasser Al-Khelaïfi is aware that it will not be easy to get Messi's 'yes', especially after the European disasters of the last two seasons. In Paris, they are studying formulas that fit in with the Argentinian's desire. If so, the club will have to make some other departures in the summer to ease the financial fair play. If the limit is not reached, PSG would face a more modest transfer market, but they would continue to strengthen their squad in order to build a new team.
The other scenario being contemplated by Paris Saint-Germain is that of Leo's non-continuity. In this case, the club's wage bill would be significantly reduced and would allow them to go into the summer transfer window with greater ambition. Be that as it may, what they want to avoid at the Parc des Princes is chaos, whether the world champion stays on or decides to call time on his time in the French capital.
The sporting project
Messi is clear that he will not make a hasty choice, that he wants to listen to all parties and make the decision that best suits his sporting and personal project. To do this, he wants to know first-hand what the future of coach Christophe Galtier will be and, if he is not to be replaced, who will take his place on the bench. He also wants to know what plans there are for Neymar Jr and Kylian Mbappé.
The departure of the current coach is practically assured from various quarters. Names such as Zidane, Tuchel, Allegri and Amorim are already making the rounds. The future of the Brazilian striker and the Frenchman is still uncertain. While they would opt to dispense with the South American, it seems really complicated to get a club to match his contract, given that his contract expires in 2025. As for the World Cup runner-up, it would be a good idea to keep him - his contract also runs until 2025 - but the plans that are going through his head are really uncertain.
At the ordinary meeting of the FC Barcelona board of directors, held on Thursday at Camp Nou, the possible return of Messi was discussed. After listening to the presentation of the facts, optimism is beginning to grow within the Barça board. Rafa Yuste, the sporting vice-president, expressed himself along these lines on Friday morning, acknowledging that "we are in contact with Messi's entourage, I would love him to return."
Despite the fact that the Argentinian is free to negotiate with the clubs he wants from January, as his contract expires in June, these moves have generated some unease at Paris Saint-Germain. The lack of discretion with which this matter is being carried out by the Catalan giants is being received with a certain amount of suspicion from the French capital.