Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are still the frontrunners when it comes to a potential move for FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi. Both clubs are reportedly increasingly confident that the Argentine superstar will leave the Catalan club when his current contract expires in June 2021.

It may be remembered that Messi had attempted to leave Barcelona last summer, but was unsuccessful due to the fact that his contract had a €700 million (£630m/$825m) release clause attached to it. On top of that, the Barca captain is also believed to be earning roughly £750,000 a week including bonuses and other add-ons. That alone is a tough paycheck to match by any club.

However, a transfer has become more feasible since first of all, the release clause will no longer be valid when his contract expires at the end of the current season. Barcelona is also imposing pay cuts across the whole organisation. The cost-cutting measures amid the pandemic also affects first team players. As such, Messi's salary for the rest of the season won't be as high as it was last year, therefore making it easier to match.

The changes are making it more realistic for other clubs to jump in. But even then, not many clubs can afford Messi. That's why the list of interested parties isn't very long.

"There is now a genuine belief that 2021 will see Lionel Messi move on. We know from intermediaries that the financial demands have changed and are now considered much more 'realistic' and because of this Man City and PSG are taking it seriously," a source told 90mins.

A move next summer is also being seen as the best time for the Argentine, who isn't getting any younger. Now at 33 years old, his new club could still get several good years out of him. If he waits longer, his value may significantly drop as he gets older.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has informed Barcelona that he wants to "unilaterally" terminate his contract with the Spanish giants, a club source confirms to AFP. Photo: AFPTV / AFPTV teams