PSG’s refusal to extend Lionel Messi’s contract is due to Inter Miami’s “desire” and MLS’s “flexibility.”

The renowned Argentinian has begun contract negotiations with the defending French champions.

Although the January transfer window has long since closed and it is already April, Lionel Messi has not yet extended his contract with Paris Saint-Germain. The Argentine international had a quick comeback after winning the FIFA 2022 World Cup, but his form improved when he joined the French champs. The UEFA Champions League and the Coupe de France have since seen PSG exit. After Qatar finished, it was believed that Messi, who would turn 36 in June, and Les Parisiens were close to new contracts. However, no extended Parc des Princes contract has been made public, and there are persistent whispers that he may transfer elsewhere. As potential locations, Inter Miami, Barcelona, Newell’s Old Boys, and even Saudi Arabia have been mentioned. Where are we presently in terms of understanding where Messi might play soccer after the current season?

Let’s review what is known.

When is Messi’s contract up?

The former Barcelona player is in the final six months of his contract, which means he is free to speak with other teams about prospective moves. His current deal expires at the conclusion of this season. It was previously believed that PSG had the option to extend Messi’s contract by a further year, but it now seems that the Ligue 1 leaders would need to negotiate brand-new contractual terms. You may remember that Messi receives a portion of his compensation in cryptocurrency, which was a first for soccer at the time. Terms like those may need to be updated in addition to his base salary and bonuses. The crypto factor becomes more significant when you consider that PSG may have to let one of Messi, Neymar, or Kylian Mbappe go in order to reduce their wage budget by 30%. Messi’s devalued cryptocurrency portion of his income will likely need to be subtracted from PSG’s calculations in order for them to even maintain Messi at his current rate, which would raise the entire sum if Milan Skriniar were also added to the books.

Why is it expiring?

Messi’s performance has improved significantly from his debut campaign with the team in the French city. The South American has produced more, and he presently leads Les Parisiens with 18 goals and 17 assists. When discussing Messi’s future, the fact that PSG went all-out to keep Mbappe under contract last year and have had budgetary constraints ever since is a crucial economic factor. Yet, the goat has still got it as seen by his thrilling last-second victory over Lille OSC and masterclass with Mbappe away at Olympique de Marseille recently in Ligue 1. There is obviously still interest in keeping Messi at Parc des Princes beyond this summer, as evidenced by the fact that the first meeting between Messi’s entourage took place and was chaired by his father. The only firm offer Messi presently has in his possession, according to¬† Fabrizio Romano, is from PSG, who spoke with House of Champions on Monday.

Is Messi happy in Paris?

Messi is happy now than he ever was in France, despite a challenging adjustment period to life without Barca and Catalonia. In addition to having his family situated, the Rosario native is currently enjoying some of his finest soccer of his career. It is hardly surprising that PSG and Messi were open to working together for a third season given how well year two has gone overall. Yet that does not necessarily imply that there will be one. Failure in the Champions League and Coupe de France have created serious concerns about the French giants’ project and who should be in charge of it. Although a completely new trip shouldn’t be ruled out just yet, returning to Barcelona or Argentina might appeal.

Might he go?

It is a possibility, of course. In the end, Messi is free to talk to other teams, and they can make him an offer that the French giants would be helpless to reject. The Argentine, who will turn 36 in a few months, arguably only has one or two more moves in him, and the possibility that one of them involves a reunion with his old team Newell’s Old Boys raises the possibility that his next move may take him outside of Europe. Since he is still making a compelling case for an eighth Ballon d’Or, is Messi ready to quit the UEFA Champions League just yet? That much is not known for sure. The fact that he this week won the FIFA Best award likely contributes to the idea that he still has a lot to offer at the highest level, contrary to other suggested destinations. According to Gerardo Romero, Messi is willing to return to Barcelona if certain requirements are met, and he does not want to remain with PSG. There has been a shift in attitude toward PSG after their defeat by Munich, so it is understandable that rumors have intensified.

Barcelona?

Inter Miami of Major League Soccer and the former club Barca have both been heavily connected to moves, but both face significant obstacles. Messi was initially compelled to leave Camp Nou due to the Catalan giants’ ongoing financial difficulties. Despite Xavi keeping the door “open” for Messi, Messi’s father Jorge is skeptical about his chances of returning to Barcelona. But if he ever returns home as a player, his old club Newell’s seems destined to be his last. Argentina might not be practicable for family and safety reasons due to recent events, scenes that met him as he attempted to eat in Buenos Aires, and sad occurrences that occurred in his hometown of Rosario.

Inter Miami?

The David Beckham MLS team is in a state of flux and might use a few more high-profile players to make the sports component of any potential as alluring as the Miami lifestyle. One of them might be Sergio Busquets, who has been strongly connected to the deal and whose involvement head coach Phil Neville recently would not deny: “I won’t say that the rumors that we are interested in Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets are false or unfounded. Since I moved to Florida, I believe Dani Alves, Robert Lewandowski, Willian, Cesc Fabregas, and Luis Suarez have all been mentioned in connection with us. You can name them all off.” However, publications like the Miami Herald have pointed out that Miami’s Nos. 10 and 5, Messi and Busquets’ usual jersey choices, are still available. Ironically, the franchise website and Ticketmaster advise visitors to “check back” as single-game Inter Miami tickets for matches in July, August, and September are “in the works.” Even MLS commissioner Don Garber has praised the league’s capacity to be “flexible” in order to get Messi to the United States.

What is likeliest?

Reading between the lines, Messi’s future still seems to be most likely to involve another year or two in Europe. Yet as the rumors about Miami and the MLS continue to mount, they are almost at a fever pitch. It makes little to no sense to perhaps only transfer somewhere else for a short campaign when his PSG move needed his second term to hit form if the question is literally where he plays soccer next season. Messi and PSG are currently in negotiations that may lead to an agreement for Messi to stay with the French champions for at least another year before leaving. Given his significance in potentially assisting in the negotiation of a new and improved domestic and international TV deal, a one- to two-year extension would be music to Ligue 1’s ears. Nevertheless, it also relies on PSG’s likely Champions League result against Bayern Munich and the financial implications of perhaps sticking on, especially given how tough it will be for the French champions to replace an injured Neymar.