The Inter Miami hierarchy were not too impressed with manager Phil Neville going public on their interest in the potential transfers of Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets, according to Ben Jacobs in his exclusive CaughtOffside column.
Messi is set for talks over a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain, says Jacobs, with a meeting scheduled for after this week’s big Champions League game against Bayern Munich.
It seems interest from Inter Miami is genuine, but the MLS club did not appreciate Neville being so out in the open about pursuing the Argentina international.
Messi remains one of the very finest players in the world, and his future is in some doubt ahead of the summer, with his current PSG deal close to expiring.
Jacobs says the 35-year-old wants to discuss new terms with his current club, rather than simply extending the deal he already has, and the reporter added that it seems unlikely the player would be open to leagues like the MLS or Saudi Arabia at this stage in his career.
“PSG are in ongoing talks with Lionel Messi to try and extend his contract. A new round of discussions will take place after the Champions League tie with Bayern Munich,” Jacobs said.
“There is a one-year option to extend within the existing deal, which comes to an end this summer, but it’s believed Messi doesn’t want to simply activate this and instead prefers to negotiate new terms. PSG also want to agree a new 1+1 contract potentially keeping Messi at the Parc des Princes until 2025.”
He added: “PSG have put no specific time scale on getting Messi to renew. They just want it done before the end of the season. But it’s likely there will be progress and further clarity in March. Because in December stories broke suggesting an agreement was in place, the narrative now is around Messi somehow U-turning or slowing things down. But the formal process of discussing all the details hadn’t even started back then.
“So the correct way of looking at this is just that it’s an unsurprisingly drawn-out task negotiating with Messi because he knows his worth and how important this next step in his career is. Messi is thus taking his time and his father Jorge is ensuring all options are explored. That’s not necessarily an indication Messi is hesitant to renew. It’s just part of the negotiating game. The more offers, the more leverage Messi has.
“Inter Miami have held an interest for quite some time and put in some legwork. Their manager Phil Neville even recently admitted the club would love to sign Messi and Sergio Busquets. I understand Inter Miami’s hierarchy were not too impressed when Neville fuelled the fire.
“There have also been links with a Saudi Arabia move. Al-Hilal missed out on Cristiano Ronaldo due to a transfer ban providing a window of opportunity for their Riyadh rivals Al-Nassr to swoop. Al-Hilal sources downplay their chances of landing Messi despite calling him a “dream signing”. Yet it doesn’t hurt the Messi camp to have a vague promise of an offer due to the immense finances it would come with.
“But Messi being over two years younger than Ronaldo makes a big difference in his thinking. I also don’t think Ronaldo would have entertained Al-Nassr at 35.”