Barcelona are reportedly going to demand that clubs must pay Lionel Messi’s £631million release clause should he hand in a transfer request.
The attacker’s future at the LaLiga giants has been thrown into serious doubt after the club performed poorly on the pitch last season and have made massive personnel changes off the field.
There have been links with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner and some of Europe’s elite but even if he wanted to leave the Nou Camp this summer with one year left on his deal, it could prove tricky for him to do so.
According to Mundo Deportivo, the Catalan club will tell Messi that he can only leave if a club is willing to pay his monstrous £631m release clause or he will be staying put.
The asking price is simply too much for any club in world football to afford, as it would accumulate to more than triple the highest fee ever paid for a footballer by Paris Saint-Germain for Neymar in 2017.
If Barcelona were to budge on their outrageous asking price, then there are plenty of clubs exploring the option of signing the 33-year-old.
PSG, Inter, Juventus, Manchester United and Manchester City, managed by Messi’s former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, have all reportedly thrown their hat in the ring should the Argentine become available.
Messi has reportedly now held talks with new Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman to discuss his future after it was revealed that he was ‘more out than in’ at the club.
According to Spanish outlet Sport, each of the aforementioned clubs would have enough pulling power to attract Messi should he leave Spain – but his price would prove to be the massive obstacle to getting a deal done.
The attacker cut his holiday short last week to return and hold talks with Koeman, after manager Quique Setien was sacked following their embarrassing 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Argentinian outlets reported that Messi was left furious after the fact he held a meeting with the new boss became public.
Koeman opened up about Messi’s situation and said: ‘He’s still got a contract and is still a Barcelona player. At this point I need to speak to him because he is the captain.
‘We need to work with him and speak with various players. We need to make some decisions but in Messi’s case I hope he stays with us.
‘I don’t know if I have to convince Messi [to stay], whether it’s that or not. He is the best player in the world and the best player in the world you want in your team, you don’t want him playing against you.
‘As a coach I would love to work with Messi because he wins matches. If he’s at the ability and level he has always shown I’d be more than happy for him to stay.’