Paris Saint-Germain are prepared to hand Lionel Messi an enormous contract worth €40m (£34m) a year after tax as the Argentine closes in on a sensational move to Parc des Princes.
Messi’s wish to stay at Barcelona was dashed after the club confirmed on Thursday that they could not figure out a way to make a contract extension work within La Liga’s financial regulations, and PSG have been chasing his signature for the past 24 hours.
Chelsea have also been suggested as potential suitors, but PSG are well ahead in the race for his signature, and when you see the kind of numbers they’re suggesting, it’s not hard to see why.
According to L’Equipe, PSG are prepared to hand Messi a ludicrous £34m per season (after tax) to convince him to make the move. For comparison, Neymar takes home a slightly less ludicrous £30m per year.
Those figures come as part of a three-year contract, the last of which is expected to be optional for Messi.
PSG’s primary goal is to get Messi to agree to at least two years at the club, after which he will be free to head elsewhere if he wishes. The Argentine has spoken of a desire to head to Major League Soccer or back to his homeland to end his career, and PSG are willing to make that happen.
Mohamed Bouhafsi later revealed that Messi intends to join PSG and that further talks will take place with his father over the weekend to close the deal.
The obvious question for PSG is how they can actually afford that, given they were recently claimed to need to offload players before they could afford to hand considerably smaller wages to Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.
It’s noted that PSG are forecasting losses of around £250m for the next season and they have accepted that they need to bring in a sizeable amount of money to keep the books balanced, but those in charge at Parc des Princes see Messi as a walking source of income himself.
Additional sponsorships from brands looking to ride the Messi wave would undoubtedly bring in a hefty sum of money, so for PSG, the question is whether that sum would be big enough to justify such a big spend.