Lionel Messi’s father and agent, Jorge, has hinted at a compromise being reached at Barcelona which allows his son to remain at Camp Nou until the summer of 2021.
The Argentine forward’s representatives arrived in Catalunya on Wednesday for showdown talks with the Blaugrana board.
Jorge Messi told reporters upon touching down that he did not “know anything” when it comes to his son’s future. He was, however, to discuss the matter with under-fire Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu amid mounting speculation suggesting that a stunning separation could be on the cards.
Messi has spent his entire senior career to date on the books of the La Liga heavyweights. Countless records have been broken by the South American over the course of his remarkable career.
The 33-year-old is, however, approaching the end of his playing days and is aware of the need to make the most of the time he has left. With Barca starting to falter at home and abroad, he has opened the door to a possible exit.
Messi dropped a bombshell on Barca when stating his intention to push for a move elsewhere, having grown disillusioned with life on and off the field at Camp Nou.
It was initially suggested that he could walk away for nothing, with an exit clause inserted into his lucrative contract that could be triggered at the end of any given season.
No free transfer will be made, though, as it has been ruled that his €700 million (£630m/$825m) release clause remains in place.
Interested parties are still sniffing around, with big-spending outfits such as Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain ready to make a move if an all-time great is made available.
That is not the case at present, and it may be that Messi never hits the market.
His father has told Mediaset that talks with Barcelona went “well”, with there still a chance that an agreement can be reached which allows everyone to remain in their current surroundings.
Quizzed on whether a six-time Ballon d’Or winner could remain with the Blaugrana until the end of his current contract in 2021, Jorge Messi replied with “yes”.
Barca will be hoping that an unwelcome transfer can be avoided at this stage, giving them time to work on convincing their captain that he should prolong his association with them – rather than take on a new challenge elsewhere.
Ronald Koeman has expressed a desire to keep a world-class performer on his books, having inherited an ageing squad from Quique Setien, and it may be that the Dutchman gets his wish when this stunning saga is brought to a close with the status quo in Barcelona maintained.