• Dan Tracey


Lionel Messi

With Lionel Messi’s contract status still very much up in the air, the January transfer window is fertile ground for rumour and counter rumour and the longer the Argentine fails to confirm his future, the louder such transfer whispers will become.

While the Barcelona board, are praying that the club’s greatest ever player puts pen to paper, the turn of the year heralds a rather significant moment and that is Messi’s ability to talk to non-Spanish clubs.

As the Argentine is in the final few months of his contract, now is the time where his head can be truly turned and although such a seismic shift is yet to take place, that’s not without the want of trying elsewhere.

When looking at the realistic options that he has on the table, there are arguably only two and although Pep Guardiola would love to link up with the man that helped him oversee Champions League success in 2009 and 2011, he has not been as vocal as the other outfit in the race.

That other outfit is none other than PSG and with the club’s Qatari owners recently installing Mauricio Pochettino as their new man in charge, the former Tottenham boss has made no secret of the desire to land his compatriot.

A desire, that has also been shared by PSG’s Sporting Director and with ex-Brazil international Leonardo also wading into the discussion, his actions have seen his Barcelona counterparts take umbrage.

To the point where, Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta has threatened to report the French giants to FIFA, with the complaint being that last season’s Champions League finalists are attempting to tap up the 33-year-old.

Whether this is just sabre rattling from the Catalan outfit remains to be seen, although with Laporta voicing his own displeasure and making it rather public, it does suggest that Messi’s current employers are rather rattled.

Rattled, because there is a genuine threat of Barcelona losing their most prized asset and if he were to link up with former teammate Neymar and repeat their feat of 2015, then PSG would finally conquer Europe for themselves.

While in doing so, it would only further weaken a footballing entity that has failed to return to the European summit since beating Juventus in Berlin nearly six years ago and for a club of that stature, this wait is far too long.

A wait, that even at five years was enough for Messi to voice his displeasure and when you consider how nuclear the fallout was after he and his teammates were thrashed 8-2 by last season’s eventual winners Bayern Munich, it is that result that has kickstarted the current chain of events.

Whether Barcelona can return to former glories and win either this season’s La Liga or Champions League remains to be seen. Then again, with the state of transition they are in, you would have to say it looks unlikely.

At the same time, even if they were to come out on top in either of these competitions, that might not be enough to persuade a man who has won it all before and therefore, the time just might be ticking on Lionel Messi’s Barcelona career.