Lionel Messi transfer: Two Premier League clubs enter race to sign superstar as Barcelona stall on decision

Ben Stewart
PSG's Lionel Messi reacts during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Clermont at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France, Saturday, June 3, 2023

According to the latest reports, two Premier League clubs have entered the race to sign Lionel Messi this summer upon his contract with PSG expiring.

The World Cup winner is available on a free transfer after letting his contract with PSG run down. Messi is keen on a fresh challenge and plenty of clubs are interested.

While Barcelona does seem to be his preferred destination, the move might not materialise due to their financial situation.

Despite Xavi’s calls to sign the 35-year-old, the transfer might not be viable for them right now. La Liga have told Barcelona they need to reduce their wage bill by around €200m this summer.

As they must sell before they buy, Messi is left in an awkward position. The PSG playmaker is keen to find his next club as soon as possible and he might not have time to wait around for Barcelona’s offer.

Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets’ departures have eased the wage bill, but the club must continue to offload some more of their high earners.

It has now been revealed that two Premier League clubs have entered the race to sign him. According to Argentine journalist Pablo Gravellone, both Chelsea and Newcastle are interested.

Both clubs certainly have the financial wealth to bring Messi to the Premier League. The PSG forward has previously worked with incoming Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino at PSG.

Newcastle’s chances will have been boosted by qualifying for next year’s Champions League. However, both Newcastle and Chelsea’s chances of signing Messi do seem slim at this stage.

Saudi Arabia offer still on the table

It does seem as if a move to the Saudi Pro League could still be on the cards for Messi. If a move to Barcelona doesn’t materialise, he will surely consider the hugely lucrative contract on offer.

MLS outfit Inter Miami are also keen on striking a deal for the 35-year-old. There was even some talk of a joint bid between Barcelona and Miami, although this talk has died down.

Spanish journalist Guillem Balague recently revealed that a move to Saudi Arabia looks the most likely at this point in time.

“In Saudi Arabia there are government officials already working on his arrival. They have been told Messi has accepted a very lucrative offer from Al-Hilal and are preparing for the move,” Balague told BBC Sport.

“This could simply be his camp preparing for his decision – or it is the most attractive proposition for the player.

“American side Inter Miami are another option, although a reported loan deal between them and Barcelona – where he would end up temporarily at the Catalan club – is not on the cards.”

It would be fantastic to see a player like Messi in the Premier League, but that does seem like a pipe dream at this point.

The Argentine superstar has had a fine season with PSG, where he has racked up over 30 goal contributions in the league alone.

READ MORE: Neymar: Guardiola ‘makes call’ to hijack Man Utd deal as Man City devastate Ten Hag dreams of sensational double PSG raid