Lionel Messi could join Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer this summer to replace Kylian Mbappe.
This is according to European football expert Andy Brassell, who believes Mbappe’s PSG future is uncertain as we head towards the summer window.
The World Cup winner, whose contract expires in 2022, has been linked with moves to Real Madrid and Liverpool, while Messi seems set to leave Barcelona when his deal runs out at the end of the season.
Reacting to L’Equipe’s front-page headline, which read ‘Paris-Messi dream allowed’, Brassell told talkSPORT’s Trans Europe Express: “They are going big on the Lionel Messi transfer being possible, which is quite interesting because the line that’s been played for a long time is he’s simply too expensive.
“It will be complicated. It’s still a challenge.
“But it’s got a list of reasons why it might happen; because he’s free, because Neymar wants to play with his mate, because [PSG sporting director] Leonardo has been working hard and preparing the terrain for him coming, and because they’ll have to replace Mbappe if he’s going to go.
Lionel Messi’s LaLiga record
- Appearances: 505
- Goals: 459
- Assists: 186
“We know Neymar is all set to sign a new contract, but it’s not as clear-cut with Kylian Mbappe who, in his words, wants to know there’s going to be a project going forward.”
Messi matched Xavi’s club record landmark of 505 LaLiga appearances for Barcelona as he scored twice in a 5-1 win over Alaves on Saturday.
South American football specialist Tim Vickery claims PSG’s decision to appoint Mauricio Pochettino as their manager rolled the red carpet out for Messi.
“Messi to PSG has always made sense to me,” he said.
“Especially from the moment when Paris sacked Thomas Tuchel and brought in Pochettino. That was like a red carpet they were rolling out for him.
“At that age, 34, I think the Premier League has sailed for him. I don’t think that would be the right move, but going to Paris Saint-Germain means he can still do the really, really important stuff he wants to do.
“He gets out of the toxic environment at Barcelona and he’s fresh for maybe three more cracks at the Champions League and a World Cup with maybe a Copa America thrown in as well.
“So he can coast a little bit and be fresh for those objectives and I think it all makes perfect sense.”
While PSG stars Neymar and Angel Di Maria have spoken about their desire to play alongside Messi again, his current teammates remain in awe of him.
Ousmane Dembele has dubbed the Argentina captain the greatest footballer of all time.
He said: “Leo is a genius, we all know about him.
“He’s the best player in the history of football. He inspired me when I was young, he inspires me now and it’s honestly an honour for me to play alongside him.
“As I said I’m proud and honoured. Being a Barcelona fan since I was a child, playing alongside the best player in the club’s history is extraordinary.
“On top of that, I feel it’s easy to play with him. He always finds the right pass, he tries to put you in the best position.
“He’s an outstanding player. There will only ever be one player like that in football.”